(CBS) The 64th annual Festival de Cannes got off to a star-studded start this week with the premiere of Woody Allen's acclaimed "Midnight in Paris."
Pictures: Cannes 2011Pictures: "Midnight in Paris" premiere
In an ode to la Belle Epoque starring Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams and Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard
(there's even a cameo by French first lady Carla Bruni), the film is a journey back to the glory of Paris in the 1920s when it seduced expatriate writers and artists like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Pablo Picasso.
After a lackluster turnout last year, festival organizers are determined to make a splash, going all out to ensure a long list of A-list celebrities throughout the 12-day festival.
Already turning heads are celebrities such as Salma Hayak and Antonio Banderas, who posed atop a pair of enormous boots to promote "Puss in Boots" the spinoff from the mega successful "Shrek" franchise. Also raising eyebrows, as only she can, was Lady Gaga, who performed for a crowd that included Angelina Jolie.
Jolie is in Cannes with her entire brood to promote her animated sequel "Kung Fu Panda 2" with Jack Black. Next week, partner Brad Pitt's new movie will premiere.
While rolling out anticipated commercial hits like the newest installment of "Pirates of the Caribbean," the festival is staying true to its cutting-edge tradition,, introducing films and filmmakers that are new and fresh and that contribute to the development of cinema on an international level.
In the running for a coveted Palme d'Or this year is Australian Julia Leigh's erotic drama, "Sleeping Beauty." Unlike any version you've come across as a child, 춘천출장업소
Leigh's story gives the classic fairy tale some very adult themes. Emily Browning starsas a young woman who leads a sordid life in the sex industry.
Other films to watch for include:
"We Need to Talk About Kevin." Based on Lionel Shriver's 2003 novel and directed and co-written by Lynne Ramsay, this film focuses on the mother and father (Tilda Swinton and John C. Reilly) of a teen boy who goes on a shooting spree.
"The Tree of Life." With paparazzi favorites Sean Penn and Brad Pitt as headliners, it's no wonder this movie is getting mass attention. The film also marks Terrence Malick's first directorial effort since 2005's "The New World." It will be interesting to see whether it lives up to all the hoopla surrounding it.
"Unlawful Killing." Providing the obligatory controversyamong this year's entries is a documentary about the death of Princess Diana, loudly criticized in Britain. The movie is provocative and will, no doubt, once again stir up debate as to whether her death was an accident. It also features a never-before-seen image of the princess as she lay dying in a Paris tunnel. Newsworthy or merely gratuitous? That remains to be seen.
If you look past the glitter and controversy, you will find that no matter what your preference - art house, or commercial blockbuster, fantasy or gritty reality - this year's festival is living up to its promise of promoting inspired and inspiring storytelling.