Live from Cannes
with Clarence Tsui
Scott bows out of premiere
First there was the volcanic ash cloud hovering over the northern Atlantic; then there were the 10-metre waves crashing onto the Croisette last week. Just when Cannes Film Festival organisers thought the worst was over, they encountered another challenge. It took the form of a dodgy knee - Sir Ridley Scott's, to be exact. That was the excuse the director gave for staying away from the premiere of Robin Hood, which opened the festival last night. But his cast - headed by Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett - were there to promote the film. The unseasonal weather might have prompted Scott (left) to avoid risking his joints, but maybe it was also the cool reception trade journals gave the film prior to its release today.
Chatroom director out of the frame
Another conspicuous absence is Japanese director Hideo Nakata, who is largely responsible for introducing Western audiences to the power of Japanese horror movies with his Ring series. His latest Hollywood foray, Chatroom, will make its debut in the Un Certain Regard section. Those who have seen the film - about a young man's efforts to manipulate four teenagers he meets online into violence - have marked it as le choc du festival (that's shock, not chocolate). Intriguingly, the publicists for Chatroom did not schedule Nakata (left) for promotional duties, but journalists seemed not to notice: all the attention is focused on its star, Aaron Johnson of Kick-Ass fame.
Route Irish finds way in
One director who will attend is Cannes veteran and former Palme d'Or winner Ken Loach. His latest film, the Iraq War drama Route Irish, was only revealed as part of the official competition on Monday. It was such a late inclusion that Loach (right) hasn't figured in any of the promotional material, including the giant poster outside the Palais des Festival listing all the participating directors. Since the festival announced its line-up last month, rumours have circulated over the reason Loach's film wasn't included. It remains unclear whether the move is due to comments about the lack of work from known masters in the competition, but Loach's overtly political film will certainly raise the festival's profile when it debuts next Thursday.