Oscar-winning Iranian director opens Cannes amid scandals

Cannes: Oscar-winning Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s psychological thriller opens the Cannes Film Festival on Tuesday amid a slew of controversies that have overshadowed this year’s launch of the world’s leading movie showcase.
Starring Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz, “Everybody Knows” (“Todos Lo Saben”) is Farhadi’s first movie in Spanish and the first Spanish-language movie to launch the festival since Pedro Almodovar’s “Bad Education” in 2004.
Farhadi’s film is one of 21 selected for the race for the Palme d’Or, which is one of the most coveted prizes in the world of cinema.
But now in its 71st year, Cannes has been forced to face up a series of challenges including a feud with US online movie giant Netflix over the screening of its movies and the fallout from the sex scandal that has engulfed US movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.
On the eve of the festival’s opening, Oscar-winning actress Cate Blanchett, who heads this year’s jury, has given the controversy surrounding Weinstein new momentum by telling the entertainment magazine “Variety” that he had also acted inappropriately towards her.
With the countdown under way to the festival’s opening, movie posters now adorn the wedding-cake style hotels perched along the Croisette, the palm-tree lined boulevard that cuts through the Mediterranean resort town.
But with France on a terrorist alert in the wake of a string of attacks, the festival is once again surrounded by a ring of steel including the deployment of 700 police officers and the positioning of 400 giant plant pots to reinforce security around the 11-day event. — dpa