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Woody Allen's 'Café Society' Will Open The Cannes Film Festival

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 29/03/2016 Matthew Jacobs
ATHENA IMAGE © Benoit Tessier / Reuters ATHENA IMAGE

For a record-setting fourth time, a Woody Allen project will open the Cannes Film Festival. 

Allen's newest movie, "Café Society," will kick off the 69th edition of the annual French festival on May 11. The director has seen mixed results via Cannes premieres: In 2011, "Midnight in Paris" rode a wave of praise all the way to a Best Picture nomination, whereas 2002's "Hollywood Ending" faltered critically and commercially. His first Cannes opener, 1989's "New York Stories," was an anthology film co-directed by Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola. Most recently, Allen screened 2015's "Irrational Man" at Cannes -- just not on opening night. 

"Café Society" reunites "American Ultra" stars Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg in a 1930s-set romantic dramedy about an aspiring Hollywood newcomer who falls in love and gets swept up in the industry's buzzy social scene. The movie marks Allen's first collaboration with Stewart, whereas Eisenberg starred in 2012's "To Rome With Love." Already acquired by Amazon for North American distribution later this year, "Café Society" also features Steve Carell, Blake Lively, Parker Posey, Corey Stoll and Anna Camp.

For all the prestige synonymous with Cannes, the festival's opening-night selections don't always spell success. In 2014, the Nicole Kidman vehicle "Grace of Monaco" premiered to devastating reviews, ultimately skipping American theatrical distribution altogether and airing on Lifetime instead. Critics were only mildly kinder to 2010's "Robin Hood" reboot and 2006's "Da Vinci Code" adaptation. On the other hand, "Moonrise Kingdom," "Up," "Primary Colors" and "The King of Comedy" found the first of many vociferous fans as Cannes' opening films. 

The full lineup will be announced in mid-April, but the festival has already revealed two studio movies that will screen at Cannes shortly before hitting theaters: Jodie Foster's "Money Monster," which opens May 13 and stars Julia Roberts and George Clooney, and Steven Spielberg's "The BFG," which opens July 1.  

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