Why Cannes? Because it's a mosh pit of the high-profile movies that you're going to love or hate throughout the year. In a rare turn of events, Americans have already had the opportunity to see the opening night film, Baz Luhrmann's lavish "The Great Gatsby." The buzz is all about whether the elite Cannes crowds will crow as Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan own the red carpet only to dismiss the moneymaker as an exercise in materialistic excess? Cannes audiences are notorious for their candid reactions. Boos and hissing are as common as standing ovations.
Meanwhile, stars swarm the upscale French Riviera mecca once frequented by "The Great Gatsby" author F. Scott Fitzgerald. Stars will also splash the big screen, including Ryan Gosling, Justin Timberlake, Marion Cotillard, Clive Owen and Matt Damon.
Among the high-profile participants, American director Steven Spielberg will head the prestigious jury, which includes Nicole Kidman, Christoph Waltz and Oscar-winning rival Ang Lee. They're tasked with choosing from 19 films in 12 days for the prestigious Palme d'Or. It's the ultimate networking exercise and a sweet spot for Spielberg. After last year's losses he returns to the festival that screened his debut feature, "Sugarland Express," in 1974.
Here are a dozen reasons why Cannes matters: