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Fanfan Le Tulipe - Preview


Preview by: Jack Foley

HAVING been out of the limelight for a little while, Spanish actress, Penelope Cruz, could well provide one of the talking points of this year's Cannes Film Festival, now that it has been announced that her latest film, Fanfan La Tulipe, is to open the showpiece two-week event on May 14, 2003.

The picture, which co-stars Vincent Perez, is a remake of an adventure-comedy about a fictitious 18th Century hero. Cruz plays a gypsy girl who dupes handsome peasant, Fanfan, into joining the French army by predicting that he will marry one of the king's daughters.

The director is Gerard Krawczyk, the maker of the French action series, Taxi, and produced by Luc Besson (who also worked on the Taxi series, as well as The Big Blue and Leon).

As the first-night film of the festival, it is guaranteed a lot of attention, with many international celebrities and the world's presss traditionally attending en masse, and setting the scene for the glamour that surrounds the annual event.

The film will also go on general release in France on the same day and marks Cruz's return to French-language features after working in Hollywood and in her native Spain. Her last French-speaking role was as one of the famous lover's smitten victims in Jacques Weber's 1998, Don Juan.

The story of Fanfan La Tulipe is no stranger to Cannes, however, having already graced the festival in 1952, when a version starring Gerard Philipe and Gina Lollobrigida won acclaim. Earlier versions were also filmed in 1907 and 1926.

Fanfan La Tulipe will, however, be shown out of competition, which means it will not be eligible to compete for the top prize - the prestigious Palme d'Or (which last year went to Roman Polanski's recent Oscar winner, The Pianist).

It is generating a fair bit of buzz, however, with many insiders predicting another massive hit for French cinema.

Pierre-Ange Le Pogam, co-founder and chief operating officer of EuropaCorp, said that when the first print of the film arrived at the company's Paris office one morning, bosses screened the film for the first time with representatives of the film festival present and, over the course of a three-hour lunch, came to the decision that it would open the festival.

"We are nothing else but thrilled," added Le Pogam. "We're so proud of the film. It's delightful."

Vincent Perez, on the other hand, had this to say about his involvement with the project: "One evening, during dinner, Luc Besson told me that he wanted to make a new version of Fanfan la Tulipe with me in the title role.

"I was very touched that Luc should present me with such a beautiful gift. I was enthusiastic, excited and infinitely grateful to Luc. The idea of playing Fanfan seemed immediately natural, as if I had always dreamed of it."

The complete line-up for this year's Cannes Film Festival has yet to be announced, although French movie director, Patrice Chereau (best known for French historical drama, La Reine Margot), will be heading this year's festival jury.

Click here for the Penelope Cruz website...
Click here for a Vincent Perez website...


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