16 May 2013

Gatsby to open Cannes festival

7:45 am on 16 May 2013

The Cannes film festival begins on Wednesday with a 3D screening of The Great Gatsby by Australian director Baz Luhrmann.

The film, based on a novel by F Scott Fitgerald in 1925, is already showing in theatres in Canada and the United States where it opened last weekend with ticket sales of $US51 million.

Leonardo DiCaprio plays the title role of Jay Gatsby, a millionaire pining for a lost love during the height of the Roaring 20s.

Carey Mulligan plays socialite Daisy Buchanan and Toby Maguire plays narrator Nick Carraway. Rapper Jay-Z produced the soundtrack.

Critics said the film was a case of style over substance.

But DiCaprio said he was fascinated by the character of Gatsby.

"One of the most powerful things about this novel is that it is still discussed nearly 90 years later," he said.

Twenty movies from 10 countries are competing for the Palme D'Or award which will be presented on the final day of the festival, 26 May.

Luhrmann previously opened the festival in 2001 with Moulin Rouge, when he filled the red carpet with can-can girls to promote the movie.