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Pixar's Up launches Cannes 2009

Pixar's Up

Story by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THE 62nd Cannes Film Festival has opened with an animated film, Pixar’s 3D Up, the first time a film of its kind has launched the event.

And a host of celebrities donned the special 3D glasses to watch the animated comedy in which 78-year-old Carl Fredricksen fulfills his dream of a great adventure when he ties thousands of balloons to his house and flies away to the wilds of South America, only to discover that his biggest nightmare has stowed away on the trip: an overly optimistic 8-year-old Wilderness Explorer named Russell.

John Lasseter, the film’s producer and co-founder of Pixar, posed with colleagues on the steps of the Palais des Festivals and said “We’re just a bunch of animation geeks from northern California on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival”.

Lasseter and Up director Pete Docter were joined by Charles Aznavour, who voices the lead character in the film’s French version. And Bryan Ferry paid tribute to the French singer by performing his signature number She in front of the gala audience.

Up, which was warmly received at its press screening, is Pixar’s tenth film and follows Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Ratatouille and WALL-E. However, it’s not competing for the coveted Palme d’Or award.

Before the premiere, Isabelle Huppert, president of this year’s international jury, introduced her fellow jurors to the audience.

“Film-makers tell us who we are and perhaps who we will become,” said the French actress, who has served as a juror on two separate occasions, “I don’t think we are here to judge. I think we are here to love films, and to see what we love more than others.”

Stars on the red carpet included Tilda Swinton and Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.

The festival continues until May 24 when the winner of the Palme D’Or will be announced.

Who’s in the running