It looks like a banner year for American movies at Cannes

The Baltimore Sun

A BON commencement bonne fin!" A good beginning makes a good end, say the French. (They are saying a lot these days with their controversial new president, but we could apply this to the Cannes Film Festival as well.)

Would you walk a mile down the Croisette to see a movie by the controversial Coen Brothers, or Hollywood's pet Quentin Tarantino, or the fabled Gus Van Sant, or the relatively unpublicized Hong Kong maestro Wong Kar-Wai?

If so, maybe you belong in Cannes at the most famous of all movie festivals - this one being the French Riviera's glamorous 60th celebration. There are more than 20 films in contention for the Palme d'Or and five are U.S. productions such as No Country for Old Men, Death House and director Kar-Wai's My Blueberry Nights, which kicked things off.

Some people find Cannes old hat, but they're saying the films this year are the best in a decade and the strongest in recent times. The festival runs through May 27.

Wrong in Clintons item

There is no getting around it. We were wrong here when we said Bill and Hillary Clinton had bought property in the Dominican Republic near the Oscar de la Rentas. And we are sorry for the mistake. Believing big mouth know-it-alls is usually a bad idea.

As the designer Oscar says - "The Clintons have been our guests in the D.R., but they never, ever, to my knowledge, even went out looking at property. They don't need to buy in the D.R. They are always welcome in my house." I asked Oscar about a rumor that he is thinking of selling his own beautiful place, and he just laughed. "Of course not!" Oscar de la Renta is the Dominican Republic's best citizen.

Scalpers for Streisand

Black market tickets for Barbra Streisand's concert are going for a staggering $6,000. This is her first show in London in 13 years. Official ticket prices run anywhere from $200 to $1,000, but that makes no never mind to those who deal under the counter.

Christopher Lee out

People have been waiting with bated breath to see the famous horror actor Christopher (Dracula) Lee in the coming Tim Burton movie of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd. But now we learn, via British gossip Mandrake, that "at the 11th hour Mr. Lee's character of the Gentleman Ghost has been axed, along with other ghostly characters." Seems some scenes had to be cut because Johnny Depp, who's also in the movie, was absent when his daughter took sick.

Mr. Lee says, "It would have been worse if I had done the scenes, but I never got to film them. It's a shame as the lyrics were wonderful, but these things happen."

Green women

The world goes green! May 22 at the Metropolitan Club, the National Audubon Society holds its "Women in Conservation" lunch. Laurie David, who produced Al Gore's Oscar-winning documentary and Deirdre Imus, who has pioneered "greening the cleaning" products plus Frances Beinecke and Majora Carter will be saluted.


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