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3-D accelerates as `Up` opens Cannes

By May 19, 2009Newswires

3-D accelerates as `Up` opens Cannes

By Gregg Kilday

CANNES — As "Up" lifts off at the Palais des Festivals on Wednesday as the opening film of the 62nd Festival de Cannes — and as the black-tie audience of cinema cognoscenti don their polarized lenses — 3-D film will finally achieve what it has long sought: respect.

Even though digital 3-D movies no longer require those old analog glasses — those infamous red/blue or red/green cardboard specs — it`s had a harder time shedding the image of `50s kitsch that has surrounded efforts to introduce dimensionality into the moviegoing experience.

But by choosing Pixar`s latest movie, a lighter-than-air confection about a crabby old man who hitches his home to thousands of helium balloons and sails away in search of adventure, the granddaddy of film festivals is lending its imprimatur to the newest technological incarnation of 3-D.

"We are happy to have 3-D open Cannes as it is one of cinema`s upcoming adventures," the festival`s Thierry Fremaux proclaimed in unveiling the choice.

While the festival berth certainly confers prestige on 3-D film, even more importantly it could help accelerate what has been a painfully slow rollout around the world, just at that moment when such companies as DreamWorks Animation and Disney and A-list directors such as James Cameron and Robert Zemeckis are betting on 3-D as the cinema of the future.

The earliest 3-D film experiments may date back to the late 19th century, but over the years only a handful of auteurs ever tried to master the medium. Back in the `30s, Louis Lumiere remade his groundbreaking 1895 short film "L`Arrivee du Train" in 3-D. Canadian animator Norman McLaren turned out a couple of 3-D shorts in the early `50s. And no less a master than Alfred Hitchcock shot 1954`s "Dial M for Murder" in 3-D, but with the `50s fad for 3-D already waning, it was widely released in 2-D.

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