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Cannes Film Festival Wowed by Wong's Blueberry Nights
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Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai received the single honor of opening the 60th Cannes film festival on Wednesday with his latest creation, My Blueberry Nights, starring singer Norah Jones and actor Jude Law. 

Labeled as a road trip film, My Blueberry Nights tells of a blueberry-pie-eating girl who embarks on a journey across the United States, seeking the meaning of love. It was screened on Wednesday night as the first of the 22 official films in competition at the festival, seeking to take home the supreme Palme d'Or award.

After the screening, Hollywood Reporter critic Kirk Honeycutt commented that "the blueberry pie may belong to Norah Jones in a highly-watchable acting debut," while Variety's Todd McCarthy praised the film, saying "Blueberry echoes the director's biggest hit, In the Mood for Love, in its moody melancholy, claustrophobic settings and highly decorative shooting style."

Some Chinese critics disagreed, saying the film was too reminiscent with Wong's classic Chungking Express (1994), less popular in the West than In the Mood for Love (2000).

Film insiders seemed united in praising the movie with Gong Li labeling it a great movie, and speaking of her envy of the actors who had the chance of starring in it. Andie McDowell lavished compliments on Wong Kar-wai and singled out David Strathairn's performance as being exceptional. However, actors said they love it.

Earlier in the day, Jones, Law and Wong turned out in dazzling style on the star-studded red carper opening ceremony. They were accompanied by a bevy of famous faces with Chinese actress Gong Li, Hong Kong star Maggie Cheung, India's Aishwarya Rai and France's Juliette Binoche, actresses Andie MacDowell, Elizabeth Hurley, directors Luc Besson and David Lynch, and Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein mingling and smiling for the cameras.

German actress Diane Kruger hosted the opening ceremony before Blueberry Nights was screened, saying that "for 12 days we will see films that will make us laugh, cry and sing," before the nine-person jury reward the festival's best on May 27. This year's line-up of judges welcomes British director Stephen Frears, Australian actress Toni Collette, Turkey's Nobel-prize winning author Orhan Pamuk and Hong Kong actress Maggie Cheung.

Unfortunately, this year's festival will not see any Chinese mainland participation after the last-minute shock pull-out by Jiang Wen who was set to present his film, The Sun Also Rises.

 (China.org.cn by Zhang Rui, May 17, 2007)

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