PARIS — This year’s Cannes Film Festival is kicking off with a legal dispute, as a Paris court weighs whether the festival can show Monty Python star Terry Gilliam’s long-awaited film “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote.”
A hearing was held in the case Monday, on the eve of the festival’s opening on the French Riviera. Gilliam’s film is scheduled to close the festival on May 19.
But Portuguese producer Paulo Branco, who initially worked with Gilliam on the film, claims he also has rights to the movie and has sued Cannes organizers to stop them from showing it.
“The work of each producer on this movie needs to be respected and not be trampled on by the director,” Branco told reporters at the court.
Gilliam, 77, contests Branco’s claims.
Gilliam’s lawyer, Benjamin Sarfaty, said banning the film from Cannes is “not justified.” He said Branco’s claim that showing the movie at Cannes would cause him “irreversible damage … is just a figment of imagination.”
The court will issue its ruling Wednesday.
It’s the latest in nearly two decades of headaches for Gilliam’s film, which has been plagued by production problems, funding issues and legal woes. The film stars Adam Driver and Stellan Skarsgard and is loosely based on the classic Spanish novel by Cervantes.
The case heard Monday is a special emergency proceeding about the film’s scheduled showing at Cannes. In a broader, separate case over the rights to the film, a Paris court issued a ruling favorable to Branco last year. Gilliam appealed and that decision is expected June 15.
The 71st Cannes Film Festival comes at a time of tumult in the film industry, with questions of gender equality at the fore as the event tries to guard traditions yet also adapt to fast-changing times.
It opens Tuesday with the premiere of Asghar Farhadi’s film “Everybody Knows,” starring Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem.
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