The 62nd Cannes Film Festival opens today with hopes high for British success.
Three UK films are competing for the prestigious Palme d'Or, including Ken Loach's Looking for Eric, starring former Manchester United legend Eric Cantona.
The festival curtain rises later with the groundbreaking screening of Up, the innovative new 3D film from Pixar that is the first animation to open Cannes.
"Up is a perfect opening film,” says Thierry Frémaux, the festival’s artistic director. "Light, moving, innovative, often funny, a good way to start a festival in a year of world crisis. That it’s an animated film is noteworthy because it’s the first time, but the important thing is that it’s an excellent film in its own right."
Up follows an elderly man who ties thousands of balloons to his house to fly to South America and keep a childhood promise.
Gloriously animated, hilariously funny, yet poignant, it's the first Pixar film to feature a geriatric fight scene and jokes about hearing aids and false teeth.
Movie industry bible Screen magazine describes the film as "a highpoint of ingenuity and storytelling in the Pixar canon and indeed the animated form, and a fitting opening to the Cannes film festival".
The British films in competition face a stiff battle for the top prize, as the official line-up of 20 films boasts some of the biggest names in arthouse cinema.
Legendary directors Pedro Almodovar from Spain, Lars von Trier of Denmark and Ang Lee from Taiwan all have films in the competition, along with Quentin Tarantino, who won the Palme d'Or in 1994 for Pulp Fiction.
Bright Star, a period drama about poet John Keats with a British cast and crew, and Fish Tank, a domestic drama starring Michael Fassbender, who won plaudits for his portrayal of hunger striker Bobby Sands in Hunger, complete the British contingent in the main competition.
In keeping with the gloomy economic mood, this year's festival has a distinctly frugal feel - many of the big parties have been scaled back or cancelled.
Like Tarantino, Loach is aiming to join the extremely select group of double Palme winners, having scooped the award in 2006 for The Wind That Shakes The Barley.