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Cannes Film Festival unveils lineup with strong global focus

PARIS (Reuters) - Hollywood stars will mingle with filmmakers from all over the world at next month's Cannes Film Festival after organizers on Thursday unveiled a line-up heavy with international films.

The films to be shown at the world's most important cinema showcase were announced in a cinema on the Champs-Elysees underneath a huge video screen of this year's Cannes poster - Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward curled up kissing.

Festival artistic director Thierry Fremaux said 1,858 films were submitted and the lineup would be "full of discovery, surprises and stars" at the May 15-26 event held each year on the glamorous French Riviera.

The field was narrowed to 19 films to compete for the coveted Palme d'Or award, the top prize at the world's biggest film festival which can significantly boost a picture's box office and awards potential.

Films in the main competition include Roman Polanski's French-language adaptation of the play "Venus in Fur" in which he cast his wife Emmanuelle Seigner.

Steven Soderbergh's HBO movie "Behind the Candelabra," starring Michael Douglas as Liberace and Matt Damon as his lover, and Joel and Ethan Coen's "Inside Llewyn Davis," were also given slots in the main competition.

As previously announced, the festival will open on May 15 with Australian filmmaker Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby" starring Leonardo DiCaprio who will return to Cannes for the first time since 2007.

DiCaprio plays Jay Gatsby in the 3D movie of F. Scott Fitzgerald's book with Carey Mulligan playing Daisy Buchanan and Tobey Maguire as the narrator, Nick Carraway.

The closing film on May 26 will be the thriller "Zulu", shot on location in South Africa by Jerome Salle and starring Orlando Bloom and Forest Whitaker.

This year's jury deciding the awards in the main competition will be led by U.S. director Steven Spielberg who has won the Academy Award for Best Director twice.

Presiding over the jury deciding the smaller "Un Certain Regard" prize will be Danish director Thomas Vinterberg whose film "The Hunt" competed at Cannes last year.

The screening of "The Bling Ring" by U.S. director Sofia Coppola and starring Emma Watson will open this competition on May 16.

(Reporting by Alexandria Sage and Belinda Goldsmith)

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