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A Cannes Opener

WWD takes a look at what to expect on the French Riviera this week at the 64th annual Cannes International Film Festival.

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PARIS — With an electric lineup of megawatt filmmakers and movie stars headed into town, the 64th Cannes International Film Festival looks set to give the city’s power supplier a run for its money.

Woody Allen’s feel-good homage to Paris, “Midnight in Paris,” will open the festival tonight at the city’s seaside Palais des Festivals, with cast members Rachel McAdams, Michael Sheen, Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Léa Seydoux expected to tread the venue’s fabled red carpet for the film’s premiere.

Master of ceremony, young French actress and new Dior ambassador Mélanie Laurent, will host the event, joined by jury president Robert De Niro and the festival’s jury members, including Uma Thurman and Jude Law.

Films contending for this year’s Palme d’Or include “The Tree of Life,” the fifth feature in almost 40 years by reclusive writer-director Terrence Malick, which stars Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and Jessica Chastain; “Drive,” by Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn, starring Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan and Christina Hendricks; Lars von Trier’s “Melancholia,” starring Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kiefer Sutherland and Charlotte Rampling, and the Lynne Ramsay-directed family drama, “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” starring Tilda Swinton.

The last movie is based on Lionel Shriver’s award-winning novel about a middle-class mother struggling to cope with her sociopath son who finally embarks on a Columbine-style killing spree. Swinton is expected to wear Haider Ackermann for the film’s premiere on May 12.

Movies being screened out of competition include “The Beaver,” directed by Jodie Foster and starring Mel Gibson; the world premiere of “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” and Xavier Durringer’s “La Conquête,” which is based on French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s rise to power. The film’s poster features the lower body of a man dressed in a suit and stack-heeled shoes perched on a high stool, his short legs dangling in the air. With rumors of ruffled feathers at the Elysée Palace, neither Sarkozy nor his wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, who plays a museum guide in Allen’s “Midnight in Paris,” is expected to attend the festival.

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