THE Cannes Film Festival got off to a blockbuster, if stormy start, as Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby opened on a soggy French Riviera.
Amid heavy rain, dancing flappers flocked down the Cannes red carpet last night, bringing a touch of the Jazz Age to the Croisette. Gatsby stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan and Tobey Maguire helped give the festival's opening day a strong dose of star power.
At the opening ceremony, DiCaprio, joined by his Gatsby co-star Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan, declared the 66th Cannes officially begun.
Over the next 12 days, dozens of the world's most artistically ambitious films will premiere on Cannes' global stage. But yesterday was a day for blockbusters – both the big-budget Gatsby and Hollywood's most accomplished director of spectacle: Steven Spielberg.
Spielberg is serving as jury president at this year's Cannes. His presence is a rarity (he's had films at Cannes before, including E.T. and Sugarland Express, but never had a movie in competition), and he was received like a visiting head of state, a king of cinema.
The Lincoln director received a standing ovation at the opening ceremony and was serenaded with a performance of Miss Celie's Blues from his 1985 film, The Color Purple.
He heads the jury that will decide the prestigious Palme d'Or, given to one of the 20 competing films, with entries ranging from the Coen brothers (Llewyn Davis), Alexander Payne (Nebraska) and Steven Soderbergh (Behind The Candelabra).