Cannes loses stars to conflicts, surgery, dissent
Oscar-winner Sean Penn has bowed out of appearing at the Cannes premiere of his new film “Fair Game” because the actor has been called to testify at a US Senate hearing on the Haiti earthquake. Penn, who helped the relief effort after the Haiti quake in January, has been asked to appear before a US Senate committee later this week to give an account of the devastation he saw in the Caribbean island nation.
In “Fair Game”, which premieres at Cannes on Thursday, May 20, Penn plays the lead male role in Doug Liman’s “Fair Game”, which also stars Naomi Watts as the real-life CIA agent whose identity was illegally revealed in 2003, sparking a crisis for the administration of US president George W. Bush.
Penn is the latest big name to cancel his appearance at the festival after French New Wave film legend Jean-Luc Godard announced at the last minute Monday that he would not attend the premiere here of his “Film Socialism”. The French icon said he was unable to attend “following problems of a Greek type” — whether budgetary or Greek-style tragedy was unclear. References to ancient Greece, including Sophocles, Pericles and Euclid are peppered through “Film Socialism”, which releases this week in theatres and can be downloaded on the Internet Monday and Tuesday.
Ridley Scott, the director of the big-budget movie “Robin Hood” that opened the festival last week, could not attend due to knee surgery. In his absence, Universal dispatched a major delegation to support the movie, including producer Brian Gazer and the major cast, namely Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Mark Strong, Oscar Isaac and Max Von Sydow. The film received mixed reviews from Cannes attendees.
Director Aamir Khan will also skip the famed Cannes Fest where his film “Peepli Live” is being showcased, although it is not in competition.
Some luminaries are not attending for political reasons. Italian culture minister Sandro Bondi announced that he would skip Cannes, the world’s most prestigious film festival, because the program included “Draquila: Italy Trembles,” a documentary on the 2009 earthquake in L’Aquila. The film, he charged, “insults the truth and the entire Italian population.” Mr. Bondi’s absence is again raising questions about Italian Prime Minster Silvio Berlusconi’s ability to crush dissent by controlling the media in Italy.
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