14 MAY 2009 In past years Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have reigned at Cannes. On other occasions Sharon Stone's exuberant hosting of the Amfar gala and a champagne reception thrown aboard a yacht by George Clooney have been the festival highlights.
This year, as Cannes becomes the focus of the movie world with beautiful people partying, playing, and, of course, watching films, the Jolie-Pitts are expected again. As are Penelope Cruz and Johnny Depp.
On Wednesday, a soignée Tilda Swinton led the A-list arrivals, hitting the red carpet for animated film Up in a full-length burgundy gown that focused attention on her elegant silhouette.
A quirky choice, the 3D flick about a curmudgeonly man who ties balloons to his house in order to get airborne had a host of celebrities donning special glasses for the viewing.
Other notable screen lovelies on hand for opening night were Bollywood's Aishwarya Rai and W actress Elizabeth Banks.
The Indian movie goddess was radiant in an über-romantic white strapless gown with a ruffled tiered skirt, while the American channelled old Hollywood glamour in dramatic red Armani.
Robin Wright Penn's ensemble – an off-the-shoulder metallic Elie Saab creation teamed with simple drop diamond earrings – ensured she garnered her share of the limelight.
The actress, a member of the jury, explained she wasn't attending to judge films - "I'm here to love them' she said.