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Cannes Competition has British accent

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The 55th Festival de Cannes unveiled its lineup of Competition titles Wednesday with only three entries from the United States in the running for the Palme d'Or compared with last year's five.

They are Paul Thomas Anderson's "Punch-Drunk Love" starring Adam Sandler, "About Schmidt" directed by Alexander Payne and starring Jack Nicholson in the title role, and "Bowling for Columbine" directed by Michael Moore, the only documentary in the Competition selection.

The lineup is, as expected, strong on British movies, with Mike Leigh's "All or Nothing," Ken Loach's "Sweet Sixteen" and Michael Winterbottom's "24 Hour Party People" all securing spots. Last year there were no British movies in Competition.

The traditional quota of four French entries is composed of Olivier Assayas's "Demonlover," his second time in Competition, Nicole Garcia's true-life thriller "L'Adversaire" (The Adversary), Robert Guediguian's "Marie-Jo et ses 2 Amours" (Marie-Jo and her 2 Loves), and Gaspar Noe's hard-hitting tale of murder and vengeance, "Irreversible," starring real-life husband-and-wife Vincent Cassel and Monica Bellucci.

Otherwise, the selection was without major surprises, and includes many of those films previously tipped for a slot. Italy is represented by "L'Ora di Religione" (The Religion Hour) marking a return to Competition for director by Marco Bellocchio. Canadian director David Cronenberg's "Spider" starring Ralph Fiennes, Roman Polanski's Polish Ghetto drama "The Pianist" starring Adrien Brody, and the Dardenne brothers' "Le Fils" (The Son) all got their expected places.

Familiar faces making a return to the Croisette include Portugal's Manoel de Oliveira ("O Principio da Incerteza," The principal of Uncertainty), Israel's Amos Gitai ("Kedma"), Iran's Abbas Kiarostami ("10"), and Russia's Aleksandr Sokurov ("Russian Ark"). Atom Egoyan's movie about remembering the Armenian genocide, "Ararat," was moved to an out-of-Competition spot to avoid political controversy.

Major Hollywood fare is largely absent from the out-of-Competition screenings, with the exception of DreamWorks's animated feature "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron," directed by Kelly Asbury and Lorna Cook, which will unspool accompanied with live voice-over and music by pop singer Bryan Adams.

In an effort to inject potential star power into the festival, a 20-minute montage from Martin Scorsese's "Gangs of New York" will unspool as part of the festival, and the director will subsequently present a tribute to the late Billy Wilder.

As previously announced, Woody Allen's "Hollywood Ending" will open the festival May 15, with "And Now Ladies and Gentlemen" directed by Palme d'Or winner Claude Lelouch bringing the fest to a close on May 26.

Cannes's artistic director, Thierry Fremaux, announced the selection at a packed movie theater on Paris's Champs Elysees. Festival president Gilles Jacob also pointed out that hard-pressed critics heading to the Croisette should be pleased by the relative absence of long movies.

FILMS IN COMPETITION

Punch Drunk Love

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson (U.S.)

L'Ora Di Religione (Il Sorriso Di Mia Madre) (The Religion Hour)

Director: Marco Bellocchio (Italy)

Spider

Director: David Cronenberg (Canada /U.K.)

Le Fils (The Son)

Director: Luc Dardenne and Jean-Pierre Dardenne (Belgium)

Kedma

Director: Amos Gitai (Israel/Italy/France)

Chihwaseon (Drunk On Women And Painting)

Director: Im Kwon-taek (South Korea)

Ren Xiao Yao (Unknown Pleasures)

Director: Jia ZhangKe (China/France/Japan)

Mies Vailla Menneisyytta (The Man Without A Past)

Director: Aki Kaurismaki (Finland)

10

Director: Abbas Kiarostami (Iran/France)

All Or Nothing

Director: Mike Leigh (U.K./France)

Sweet Sixteen

Director: Ken Loach (U.K.)

O Principio Da Incerteza (The Principal of Uncertainty)

Director: Manoel De Oliveira (Portugal/France)

The Pianist

Director: Roman Polanski (Poland/France)

Russian Ark

Director: Aleksandr Sokurov (Russia/Germany)

Divine Intervention

Director: Elia Suleiman (France/Palestine)

About Schmidt

Director: Alexander Payne (U.S.)

Bowling for Columbine

Director: Michael Moore (U.S.)

24-Hour Party People

Director: Michael Winterbottom (U.K.)

Demonlover

Director: Olivier Assayas (France)

L'Adversaire (The Adversary)

Director: Nicole Garcia (France)

Marie-Jo et Ses 2 Amours (Marie-Jo and Her 2 Loves)

Director: Robert Guediguian (France)

Irreversible (Irreversible)

Director: Gaspar Noe (France)

Out of Competition

Spirit

Director: Kelly Asbury and Lorna Cook (U.S.)

Devdas

Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali (India)

Ararat

Director: Atom Egoyan (Canada)

Cidado De Deus (City of God)

Director: Fernando Meirelles (Brazil)

Murder By Numbers

Director: Barbet Schroeder (U.S.)

Opening-night Film -- Out of competition

Hollywood Ending

Director: Woody Allen (U.S.)

Closing-night film -- Out of competition

And Now...Ladies and Gentleman

Director: Claude Lelouch (France)

Un Certain Regard

Carnages

Director: Delphine Gleize (France)

Dix-Sept Fois Cecile Cassard (Seventeen Times Cecil Cassard)

Director: Christophe Honore (France)

La Chatte A Deux Tetes (The Two Headed Cat)

Director: Jacques Nolot (France)

Madame Sata

Director: Karim Ainouz (Brazil)

Rachida

Dir.Yamina Bachir (Algeria/France)

Kuqi de Nuren (Cry Woman)

Director: Liu Bingjian (China/France)

Double Vision

Director: Chen Kuo-fu (Taiwan)

Itiraf (Confession)

Director: Zeki Demirkubuz (Turkey)

Balzac et la Petite Tailleuse Chinoise (Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress)

Director: Sijie Dai (China/France)

Les Chansons Du Pays De Ma Mere (Songs From My Mother's Country)

Director: Bahman Ghobadi (Iran)

Tomorrow La Scala

Director: Francesca Joseph (U.K.)

Une Part Du Ciel (A Piece of Heaven)

Director: Benedicte Lienard (Belgium/France)

Sacrifices

Director: Oussama Mouhamad (Syria/France)

Bemani

Director: Dariush Mehrjui (Iran)

Terra Incognita

Director: Ghassan Salhab (Lebanon/France)

Heremakono (Waiting for Happiness)

Director: Abderrhmane Sissako (Mauritania/France)

Long Way Home

Director: Peter Sollett (U.S.)

El Bonaerense

Director: Pablo Trapero (Argentina)

L'Ange De L'Epaule Droite (The Angel of the Right Shoulder)

Director: Djamshed Usmanov (Tajikistan/Italy/France)

Sud Senaeha (Blissfully Yours)

Director: Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Thailand)

Ten Minutes Older -- The Trumpet

Director: Victor Erice, Werner Herzog, Jim Jarmusch, Chen Kaige, Aki Kaurismaki, Spike Lee, Wim Wenders (Germany/U.K.)

Special Screenings

La Derniere Lettre (The Last Letter)

Director: Frederick Wiseman (U.S./France)

The Other Side

Director: Chantal Akerman (France/Belgium)

Searching For Debra Winger

Director: Rosanna Arquette (U.S.)

Carlo Giuliani, Ragazo (Carlo Giuliani, A Boy)

Director: Francesca Comencini (Italy)

The Kid Stays In The Picture

Director: Brett Morgen and Nanette Burstein (U.S.)

Kagami No Onnatachi (Women In The Mirror)

Dir.Kiju Yoshida (Japan)

Short Films In Competition

Holding Your Breath

Director: Anthony Lucas (Australia)

Eso Utan

Director: Peter Meszaros (Hungary)

Daughter

Director: Eduardo Rodrigues (U.S.)

The Stone of Folly

Director: Jesse Rosenweet (Canada)

Speel Met Me

Director: Esther Rots (Netherlands)

A Very Very Silent Film

Director: Manish Sha (India)

Tai Tai

Director: Nicholas Chin (Hong-Kong)

Flying

Director: Bruce Terris (U.S.)

Tango De Olvido

Alexis Mital Toledo (Argentina)

Mavrosoufitsa

Director: Yannis Yapanis (Cyprus)

Yoake A Chewing-Gum Story

Director: Roland Zumbuhi (Austria)

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