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Great Gatsby dazzles at wet Cannes

Cannes film festival had a great opening despite the heavy rain.

Dancers perform on the red carpet ahead of the opening of the 66th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in France on 15 May 2013. Picture: AFP

CANNES - The Cannes film festival conjured up the roaring twenties on Wednesday with a glamorous opening night premiere of Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby, complete with dancers in flapper dresses on the red carpet and umbrellas to keep off the rain.

This is an annual film festival, founded in 1946, held in Cannes, France, which previews new films of all genres, including documentaries, from around the world

The cast of _The Great Gatbsy _arrived to loud cheers with all eyes on Leonardo DiCaprio, who plays mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby in the flashy adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 novel.

British actress Carey Mulligan, who plays the love interest Daisy, wore a low-cut, rose coloured dress, while Bollywood veteran Amitabh Bachchan, making his Hollywood debut in the film, sparkled in a black sequined dinner jacket.

The choice of The Great Gatsby, which is not in competition, for the prestigious opening night slot in Cannes surprised some as it is rare for the festival not to open with a world premiere.

LUHRMANN UNMOVED BY CRITICS

The film, by Australian director Luhrmann who is known for extravagant productions, opened in North America last week.

DiCaprio has received wide praise for his performance in the $105 million production, with a soundtrack by rapper Jay-Z, but several critics have said it was a case of style over substance.

Luhrmann was unmoved by his detractors, particularly as the film took a larger-than-expected $51 million for distributor Warner Bros, a unit of Time Warner Inc., in the United States and Canada last weekend.

"I never get one of those big, high critics' scores, I just care people are going out and seeing it." Luhrmann said.

The opening night kicks off a busy schedule of premieres, champagne parties and celebrity spotting along Cannes' chic waterfront Croisette, with Michael Douglas, Matt Damon, Ryan Gosling, and Emma Watson among big names in town this year.

Cloudy skies did not deter badge holders and passers-by from cramming cafes around the main festival building, while dozens of gleaming luxury yachts in the nearby harbour prepared to welcome their wealthy guests.

From Thursday, the focus will shift to hundreds of other films screening at Cannes, while up to 40,000 film professionals will seek to snap up titles on the bustling movie market that has become a key to the festival's success.

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