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Make way for the camel: Cannes film festival opens

The Associated Press, Wednesday, May 16, 2012, 3:39am (PDT)

CANNES, France (AP) -- The extravaganza named Cannes got under way Wednesday with Wes Anderson's carefully composed whimsy and Sacha Baron Cohen's theatrics.

Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom" is opening the 65th annual film festival with its premiere and the director as well as actors Bruce Willis, Edward Norton and possibly Bill Murray will make their way down Cannes' grand red carpet in the evening.

In the morning, Baron Cohen held his latest stunt to promote his upcoming comedy, "The Dictator." The comedian held a press conference outside his hotel, where he was flanked by two female faux-soldiers. A camel was led to him, which he (with some trouble) mounted and then rode down the Croisette to apparently take in some shopping.

As he slowly made his way down the street, Baron Cohen was mobbed by dozens of photographers, bringing traffic to a halt and drawing the attention of police. After a short stroll, Baron Cohen turned around and returned to the hotel — possibly to strike again later.

Such a stunt, while certainly unique, isn't uncommon at Cannes, where movies often go to extremes to catch the eye of the world's media.

The Cannes Film Festival runs through May 27 with eagerly anticipated films to come from Walter Salles, David Cronenberg and Michael Haneke.

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