CANNES, France - Cannes celebrated its 60th edition Wednesday by inviting a screen newcomer to open the film festival: singer Norah Jones, playing a heartbroken lover in a role that forced her to cry on command and spend hours smooching costar Jude Law.
Their movie, My Blueberry Nights, by director Wong Kar-wai, was the first screening in an 11-day fete of cinema, parties and deal-making.
The festival has an extra dash of glitter this year: Stars slated for appearances include George Clooney, Sharon Stone, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Al Pacino and Angelina Jolie. Movies on Cannes' lineup range from Ocean's Thirteen to Michael Moore's Sicko, to films from Russia to Mexico to South Korea.
Jones wore a strapless midnight blue gown and Law and Wong wore black sunglasses as they climbed the red carpet. Other stars at the premiere included China's Gong Li, India's Aishwarya Rai and France's Juliette Binoche.
Cannes strives to achieve just the right blend of Hollywood glitz and international art-house films, and the opening night movie certainly fit the bill.
Hong Kong director Wong (In the Mood for Love) is a Cannes favorite, and My Blueberry Nights is his first English-language movie.
Jones stars as a New Yorker who hits the road on a curative cross-country trip after being dropped by her boyfriend. The singer had never acted before, but Wong heard her sultry voice and knew he had a role for her.
Cannes was founded in 1939 as an alternative to the Venice Film Festival in Mussolini's Italy but did not get going in earnest until the 1950s.
The festival is looking back at its glamorous history this year with a photo exhibit on the beach.
But the celebrations are more than just nostalgia. For a feature-length homage to the movies, it commissioned 35 shorts from directors including Wong, Roman Polanski, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, the Coen brothers and Wim Wenders.
Oscar-winning director Martin Scorsese has been enlisted to give a master class on movie-making.