Gordon Gekko, the corporate raider who annihilated rivals in Oliver Stone’s 1987 “Wall Street,” returns to the big screen at the Cannes Film Festival, which opens today.
“Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” gets a red-carpet premiere on May 14, screening outside the official competition at the 11-day festival. In the movie, silver-haired Gekko (Michael Douglas), eager for respect after eight years in jail, sets out to promote his book “Is Greed Good?” while the global financial system collapses around him.
“The crash happened in 2008 and that made it suddenly very interesting, because you saw all the flaws in the system,” explains director Stone in the film notes. “‘Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps’ is really a reckoning with what happened.”
Opening the festival today is Ridley Scott’s “Robin Hood,” not in the competition. Russell Crowe -- the valiant Roman general in Scott’s year-2000 “Gladiator” -- plays the 13th-century English archer battling corrupt royalty. He is flanked by Cate Blanchett in the role of Marion Loxley.
Nineteen movies will compete this year for the top Cannes prize, the Palme d’Or. The nine-member jury, led by director Tim Burton, includes actors Benicio Del Toro and Kate Beckinsale.
Only one U.S. movie is in the official race: Doug Liman’s “Fair Game,” starring Sean Penn, plots the true story of how intelligence agent Valerie Plame had her cover blown during the presidency of George W. Bush.
Loach on Iraq
Other finalists include Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (“21 Grams,” “Babel”), whose “Biutiful” portrays a shady Barcelona businessman played by Javier Bardem. Bertrand Tavernier’s “La Princesse de Montpensier” shows a 16th-century aristocrat being married off to a prince despite her love for a war hero. Ken Loach, a latecomer to the contest, brings “Route Irish,” an account of British involvement in the Iraq war.
Screening out of the competition is Woody Allen’s “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger,” starring Naomi Watts, Josh Brolin, Anthony Hopkins, and Antonio Banderas. The story is summed up on the film’s Web site as “a little romance, some sex, some treachery and apart from that, a few laughs.”
Besides the “Wall Street” sequel, another film premiering in Cannes will target the global financial meltdown. “Inside Job” -- a documentary narrated by actor Matt Damon, and featuring interviews with financier George Soros and French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde -- argues that the crisis was an “inside job” that was “executed collectively by bankers, politicians, rating agencies, bureaucrats and professors,” according to the news release.
Britain’s Mike Leigh and Iran’s Abbas Kiarostami are two other contestants for the top prize. Jean-Luc Godard, a pioneer of the French 1960s Nouvelle Vague, will show “Film Socialisme” in the parallel “Un Certain Regard” section.
The first Cannes film festival took place in 1946, a year after World War II ended. Among the event’s earliest award winners were directors Orson Welles, Luis Bunuel, Ingmar Bergman and Satyajit Ray.