Spring is the consummate “out with the old, in with the new” season in the movie world, as film festivals screen both highly-anticipated blockbusters and low-profile indies that may hold equal weight next award season.
The 66th Cannes Film Festival looks like no exception to that rule: festival organizers announced yesterday that Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of The Great Gatsby will kick off Cannes on May 15, five days after it opens in U.S. theaters.
I’ve been a bit shaky on the film since its release date was pushed back from Christmas Day 2012 to May, supposedly to avoid Leonardo DiCaprio overload (could there ever be such a thing?) when Django Unchained premiered that same day. That, and the fact that Luhrmann hired Jay-Z to score the film in January - the month after it was originally slated to debut - and you’ve got what seems like a very messy film on your hands. I like the rapper more than the next person, but somewhere F. Scott Fitzgerald is rolling in his grave.
Luhrmann, who directed Moulin Rouge! and Romeo + Juliet (which I’ve always been able to point at, with rare confidence, as my least favorite film of all time), may be the flashiest director on the planet, which could either do the Roaring Twenties' glitz-and-glamour of The Great Gatsby justice, or completely overpower the dark, emotional undercurrent of the story in favor of flamboyance.
Regardless of its reception - which will have reached a frenzied peak by the Cannes premiere - the film is out of competition for awards at the festival, where Steven Spielberg is leading the jury this year. The Great Gatsby will also be the second-ever film to screen in 3D at Cannes, after Disney-Pixar’s Up debuted in 2009. Hear that? That’s the sound of the last scrap of subtlety drowning in Jay Gatsby’s pool.
Here’s Luhrmann’s statement about opening the festival, courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter:
"It is a great honor for all those who have worked on The Great Gatsby to open the Cannes Film Festival," Luhrmann said in a statement. "We are thrilled to return to a country, place and festival that has always been so close to our hearts, not only because my first film, Strictly Ballroom, was screened there 21 years ago, but also because F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote some of the most poignant and beautiful passages of his extraordinary novel just a short distance away at a villa outside St. Raphael."
Are you excited for the film, or as skeptical as I am? Watch the trailer and sound off in the comments below!