Monday, May 19, 2008


"Seeing me arrive, trembling before you on this prestigious stage, you must be as stunned as I was when Gilles Jacob and Thierry Frémaux let me know that they had chosen me to declare open, on this evening of May 14th, 2008, the 61st Festival de Cannes. After a first instant of disbelief, I thought that I owed this formidable honour solely to their mischievous spirit, many examples of which have been dealt out to us in past. But in the end, pride and importance won out, and I shouted to myself, taking full stock of my new-found power: "It is you who hold the keys, for without you, this Festival will not take place." That would indeed be a pity, so here I am. For the past 61 years, indeed, thanks to the intelligence and talent of those who have assumed and still yet assume the heavy burden of making it exist and increasing its influence, having transformed it into the unique and incomparable event of the planet-cinema, the Festival de Cannes, with both its indissociably connected solemnity and playful character, allows us to see and hear all the richness of the cinema of the five continents in its all infinite diversity".Said Filmmaker Claude Lanzmann, while addresseing the august gathering ,while officially opening the 61st edition The Festival de Cannes on Wednesday night.
The master of ceremonies, Edouard Baer, presented the official Jury presided by Sean Penn and composed of Jeanne Balibar, Alexandra Maria Lara, Natalie Portman, Marjane Satrapi, Rachid Bouchareb, Sergio Castellitto, Alfonso Cuaron and Apichatpong Weerasethakul .
A tribute was dedicated to Sean Penn on the stage of the Grand Théâtre Lumière, with the screening of a piece of editing of his movies and a musical performance by the legendary guitarist and singer Richie Havens..The evening pursued with the screening in Competition of Fernando Meirelles’ Blindness, in attendance with the director and notably Julianne Moore, Gael Garcia Bernal and Danny Glover.

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