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Lucas on Iraq war, 'Star Wars'

From CNN's Chris Burns

• Final 'Star Wars' not for squeamish
• 'Star Wars' celebration in London
• Final 'Star Wars' debuts at Cannes
• Lucas previews 'Star Wars'
How would you describe the latest 'Star Wars' movie?
A must-see
Star Wars
George Lucas

CANNES, France (CNN) -- "Star Wars" director George Lucas says that although he wrote the original film during the Vietnam War, his six-part saga could apply to the war in Iraq.

''In terms of evil, one of the original concepts was how does a democracy turn itself into a dictatorship,'' Lucas told a news conference at Cannes, where his final episode had its world premiere.

''The parallels between what we did in Vietnam and what we're doing in Iraq now are unbelievable.

''On the personal level it was how does a good person turn into a bad person, and part of the observation of that is that most bad people think they are good people, they are doing it for the right reasons,'' he added.

The final episode of "Star Wars" blasted into the Cannes film festival Sunday, stirring the greatest hype and excitement here yet, even if it's not in competition for the festival's top prize, the Golden Palm.

Cannes went out of its way to roll out the red carpet for "Episode III: Revenge of the Sith," letting fans in costume meet and greet their screen idols before Sunday night's gala screening. Offshore on the Queen Mary 2, the festival gave a special trophy to Lucas.

"Sith" is an action-packed intergalactic morality play exposing the origins of the diabolical Darth Vader.

It shows a young Anakin Skywalker, played by Hayden Christensen, torn between following his mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor), and the power-hungry Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) -- while hoping to save the life of his wife, Padme (Natalie Portman), who is pregnant with the future twin heroes Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia.

The film is getting critical acclaim. Though it does have its moments of comic-book dialogue, the finale is an intense human drama. Variety magazine calls it the best "Star Wars" since ''The Empire Strikes Back.''

And so what if "Star Wars" isn't in the competition? It's expected to make more money than all the films vying for the Golden Palm combined.

"Star Wars" is using Cannes as the biggest global launch pad for movies. And the feeling is mutual. Cannes is using "Star Wars" as it tries to balance all its art films with high-wattage Hollywood.

Another film stirring excitement out of competition is Woody Allen's ''Match Point.'' This time he leaves his usual Manhattan venue for Britain, with a modern take on Dostoyevsky's "Crime and Punishment," packed with Hitchcock suspense and a politically incorrect ending.

The 20 films in competition are led by four American, three French and two Chinese entries. Screening Tuesday is ''Broken Flowers'' by U.S. director Jim Jarmusch. Starring Bill Murray, Sharon Stone and Jessica Lange, it's about a father searching for the son he never knew.

In competition for the first time is an Iraqi film, ''Kilometer Zero,'' a tragi-comedy on Iraqi-Kurd relations during the 1980s Iran-Iraq war. It's told from the perspective of a Kurdish man drafted to fight for Saddam Hussein's brutal regime.

It ends with what can be perceived as a slap at France and others who sat out the 2003 Iraq war -- after Saddam fell to the U.S.-led coalition, the main character and his wife, then in exile in Paris, scream out their apartment window, ''We're free! We're free!''

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