17 May 2012 12:00 PM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Beautiful A-listers hit the Croisette in support of the most Hollywood-friendly competition lineup in years

Glancing over the Cannes lineup from 20 years ago is a startling reminder of just how little that seemingly prestigious Official Selection badge matters in the long run: among the 1992 prizewinners, The Player and Howards End may still be with us, but when was the last time you were tempted to seek out and stick on Bille August's Palme d'Or winner The Best Intentions? Other selections have retained their cultural cachet, but lost their festival association: sex-lies-and-icepicks thriller Basic Instinct made its European premiere in the august competition lineup.

Whether such gleeful trash would make the grade today is doubtful; there certainly doesn't appear to be anything quite as lurid vying for the Palme this year. (Following Tuesday night's dismal After the Battle, an earnest blend of dressage and Egyptian feminist tract, I rather wish there was. »

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