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Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby" to open Cannes film festival

Oscar-nominated director Baz Luhrmann poses for a portrait in New York, November 11, 2008. REUTERS/Keith Bedford
Oscar-nominated director Baz Luhrmann poses for a portrait in New York, November 11, 2008. REUTERS/Keith Bedford

LONDON (Reuters) - Australian director Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby" will open the 2013 Cannes film festival, the world's most important cinema showcase, organizers said on Tuesday.

The adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's account of "Roaring Twenties" America combines serious literary heritage and A-list star power, with Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead role.

DiCaprio will make an appearance at the festival on the famous Croisette waterfront for the first time since 2007.

The opening gala, preceded by a glitzy red carpet fashion parade and followed by parties along the palm-lined Riviera, will also be attended by Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan and U.S. rapper Jay-Z.

"It is a great honor for all those who have worked on The Great Gatsby to open the Cannes film festival," Luhrmann, whose first film Strictly Ballroom was screened there 21 years ago, said in a statement.

"F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote some of the most poignant and beautiful passages of his extraordinary novel just a short distance away at a villa outside St. Raphael," he added.

DiCaprio plays Jay Gatsby in the 3D movie, Carey Mulligan is Daisy Buchanan and Tobey Maguire is Nick Carraway, the narrator.

The festival runs from May 15 to 26 and U.S. director Steven Spielberg is head of this year's jury.

Last year's winner of the coveted Palme d'Or for best picture was Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke for the drama Amour.

(Reporting by Mike Collett-White; Editing by Erica Billingham)

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