Cannes Classics is a section created in 2004 to honor great filmmakers and films of the past. It shows restored or recovered prints of rare films in connection with their rerelease in theaters or on DVD. Today's first feature, a dramatization of real events from Korean history, is Prince Yeonsan (Korea, 1961) by Shin Sang-ok. The second is Michelangelo Antonioni's The Adventure (Italy, 1960) .
When Prince Yeonsan accedes to the throne in 15th-century Korea, he is eager to clear the name of his mother Queen Yun, who was poisoned. But the court refuses. Out of frustration, he becomes a bloodthirsty tyrant, rounding up maidens and horses from the whole peninsula for his own private enjoyment.
The Adventure, 1960 Grand Jury Prize, is the first film in a trilogy made up of The Eclipse (winner of the Special Jury Prize in 1962), and The Night. The wealthy heiress Anna is cruising the Mediterranean with her fiance Sandro, an architect, and five other jet-setters. They moor off the shore of a small uninhabited island, and Anna disappears! In the ensuing search, Claudia, Anna's best friend, falls in love with Sandro…
In 1967, Antonioni also won the Festival's Grand Prix International, predecessor to the Palme d’Or, for Blow Up. His 1982 Identification of a Woman garnered the Festival's 35th Anniversary Prize.
Italian filmmaking legend Michelangelo Antonioni will be honored by a special Red Carpet appearance by a roster of Italy's greatest actresses, including Claudia Cardinale, Ornella Muti, Laura Morante, and Maria Grazia Cucinotta. The 2009 Cannes Festival poster is a "photogram" of Adventure star Monica Vitti seen from behind, standing in a window.