U.N.'s Annan to attend Cannes film festival opening
PARIS, May 10 (Reuters)

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan will be a special guest at the opening of the 51st Cannes film festival in the French Riviera town next Wednesday, organisers said on Sunday. Annan will join French Culture Minister Catherine Trautmann for the traditional grand entrance up the festival centre's stairs, a favourite spot for starlets and paparazzi at the world's top film competition.

Festival organisers said the secretary-general would attend the gala event to underline the filmfest's support for the U.N.'s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was signed in Paris in December 1948. "Under the sign of universality and human rights, this evening will bear witness to the Cannes festival's consistent support for freedom of expression and the defence of the principles contained in this declaration," they said in a statement.

Twenty-two films will be competing for the Palme d'Or prize in this year's two-week festival, which will open with Mike Nichols' "Primary Colors", satirising President Bill Clinton's 1992 election campaign.

A 10-member jury headed by U.S. director Martin Scorsese will hand out the prizes. Other jury members include actresses Winona Ryder, Sigourney Weaver and Lena Olin, directors Chen Kaige, Alain Corneau and Michael Winterbottom, and rap singer MC Solaar. Chiara Mastroianni, daughter of legendary film stars Catherine Deneuve and the late Marcello Mastroianni, is also on the jury along with Cuban writer Zoe Valdes.


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