FRENZY ON THE FRENCH RIVIERA : FILMMAKERS, CELEBRITIES AND REPORTERS CAUSE THE USUAL RUCKUS AT 49TH CANNES FESTIVAL.Byline: Janet Maslin The New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of Times
A hot-tempered creature in an incredible red dress came storming out of the hotel elevator one evening, throwing a celebrity conniption.
Sure enough, there she was looking famous on television several days later, as a few dozen people eagerly watched her on one monitor at the Palais des Festivals, action central for the Cannes International Film Festival.
The crowd was hypnotized, but nobody had the faintest idea who this woman was. The answer, supplied succinctly by a newspaper the next day: ``Czech model.''
This is business as usual on the glittery side of Cannes, the aspect of the event that has become second only to the Olympics in press coverage and desperate hype.
Put enough star-crazy onlookers in one small place and you will have mass hysteria mass hysteria
1. Spontaneous, en masse development of identical physical or emotional symptoms among a group of individuals, as in a classroom of schoolchildren.
2. if, say, Hugh Grant and Elizabeth Hurley Elizabeth Jane Hurley (born June 10, 1965) is an English actress, fashion model, producer and designer. Early life
Elizabeth Hurley was born in Basingstoke, Hampshire, England in 1965. arrive to screen a short trailer for their new film (a thriller that is not in the film festival and will not open until fall).
At the cocktail party thrown for this preview, a man introduced himself and suggested that Grant visit Turkey. Several others eavesdropped. Grant made a nice, noncommittal reply.
And David O. Russell, whose ``Flirting With Disaster'' closed the festival on a high note, sat on the terrace of the Carlton Hotel discovering local customs.
On his first trip here, wearing the outfit with a Nehru collar that he identified as ``my free Donna Karan suit,'' Russell instantly noted the rarely mentioned similarities between Cannes and South Florida. He also found out this much: Two mineral waters and an orange juice cost more than $20 in a major Cannes nerve center, and such places are nevertheless always full.
The clientele consists largely of prowling prowl
v. prowled, prowl·ing, prowls
To roam through stealthily, as in search of prey or plunder: prowled the alleys of the city after dark.
v.intr. agents and movie executives. The spirit is so cheerfully predatory that the question ``Are you happy with your representation?'' (one agent's way of stealing another's client) is a friendly ice-breaker around here.
But the famously crass part of the festival paled this year, and not just because Cannes failed to attract major movie stars. The excitement of a rich and varied roster is what Cannes supposedly strives for, and this year that quieter excitement was real.
For a change, visiting celebrities (e.g. Dustin Hoffman arriving to announce a business deal) were secondary to stars behind the camera, who received the attention warranted by the high caliber of their work.
Al Pacino was one of very few who were at home on both sides of this divided festival: He was here both as Hollywood star and as offbeat off·beat
An unaccented beat in a measure.
Not conforming to an ordinary type or pattern; unconventional: offbeat humor. director, thanks to ``Looking for Richard Looking for Richard is a 1996 documentary directed by and starring Al Pacino, both a staging of William Shakespeare's Richard III and a broader examination of Shakespeare's continuing role and relevance in popular culture. ,'' his lively, illuminated explication ex·pli·cate
tr.v. ex·pli·cat·ed, ex·pli·cat·ing, ex·pli·cates
To make clear the meaning of; explain. See Synonyms at explain.
[Latin explic of ``Richard III.''
Pacino turned up at what passes for a low-profile party here - the kind with only one flag flying the film's name on the yacht - looking as invigorated in·vig·or·ate
tr.v. in·vig·or·at·ed, in·vig·or·at·ing, in·vig·or·ates
To impart vigor, strength, or vitality to; animate: "A few whiffs of the raw, strong scent of phlox invigorated her" by this project as he does on screen.
Having shot 100 hours of film and thus risked endless dawdling, Pacino said he had not realized until last July that his material, which could have wound up as a video or television documentary, had the makings of a feature film, let alone one that would fit in so well here.
And ``Looking for Looking for
In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with. Richard'' (like John Sayles' ambitious ``Lone Star'' and films by such important directors as Eric Rohmer, Alain Tanner and Arthur Penn) was not even part of the festival's central competition.
Nor were ``Trainspotting,'' a high-voltage, rudely funny film about Scottish addicts, and ``Microcosmos,'' a nature documentary filled with gorgeous magnified insects, though these were among the most talked-about films.
The pace was so hectic that a surprise screening of ``Schizopolis,'' a bizarre, largely impenetrable linguistic experiment by Steven Soderbergh, caused barely a ripple. There was simply too much else going on.
The main competition was crowded with films that worldwide audiences can begin anticipating: Mike Leigh's ``Secrets and Lies'' (starring Brenda Blethyn, who was named best actress) and Lars von Trier's ``Breaking the Waves'' were big winners; David Cronenberg's strange, risky ``Crash'' (which won a special award for audacity) can be anticipated with more trepidation.
Also notable were some competing films that went without awards, including Andre Techine's thoughtful and intricate ``Voleurs,'' Chen Kaige's eye-filling melodrama ``Temptress Moon,'' Aki Kaurismaki's droll droll
adj. droll·er, droll·est
Amusingly odd or whimsically comical.
[French drôle, buffoon, droll, from Old French drolle ``Drifting Clouds,'' Stephen Frears' cheerfully comic ``Van'' and Olivier Assayas' bow to ``Day for Night,'' called ``Irma Vep.''
Among the winners were films that also have improbable commercial appeal like ``Microcosmos,'' which won a technical award, and the shamelessly stirring ``Eighth Day,'' whose stars, Daniel Auteuil and Pascal Duquenne, who has Down syndrome Down syndrome, congenital disorder characterized by mild to severe mental retardation, slow physical development, and characteristic physical features. Down syndrome affects about 1 in every 730 live births and occurs in all populations equally. , jointly won the best actor award.
The French film industry was much in evidence this year in the competition with, among other films, Patrice Leconte's ``Ridicule'' (clever backbiting back·bite
v. back·bit , back·bit·ten , back·bit·ing, back·bites
To speak spitefully or slanderously about (another).
v.intr. in the court of Louis XVI) and Jacques Audiard's ``Self-Made Hero'' (Mathieu Kassovitz as a charming imposter, pretending to be a World War II Resistance hero). The latter won the screenplay award for Audiard.
But as well represented as France was in this festival's 49th year, and as avidly as attention already has begun shifting toward plans for a mega-event honoring the 50th anniversary next May, French officials still have their worries.
They fume fume Occupational medicine A solid suspension resulting from condensation of the products of combustion. See Inhalant Vox populi verbTo be in the midst of a mental mini-meltdown. about American remakes (``Birdcage'' is a dirty word here) and express concern about a dwindling dwin·dle
v. dwin·dled, dwin·dling, dwin·dles
To become gradually less until little remains.
To cause to dwindle. See Synonyms at decrease. art-house audience that has fickle tastes. French films, which once reigned supreme as art-house staples, have been crowded out by American independent films, which usurp u·surp
v. u·surped, u·surp·ing, u·surps
1. To seize and hold (the power or rights of another, for example) by force and without legal authority. See Synonyms at appropriate.
2. subject matter, screens and distribution patterns that were once so very French.
``It's worse than ever,'' lamented Daniel Toscan du Plantier, an eminent French producer and the chairman of Unifrance Film International, the export organization, ``because we have been too well understood.''
The crowning indignities, according to him and to Marc Tessier, director of France's National Film Center, include the ludicrous and unfair Academy Award quotas that limit France (and every other country) to a single Best Foreign Language Film nominee.
And they complain that there is not much acknowledgment of the French money that backs internationally financed films like ``Leaving Las Vegas.''
Nevertheless, this festival, in addition to showing France's promise for the future, offered a retrospective of major French films from the 1970s, and had a captivating cap·ti·vate
tr.v. cap·ti·vat·ed, cap·ti·vat·ing, cap·ti·vates
1. To attract and hold by charm, beauty, or excellence. See Synonyms at charm.
2. Archaic To capture. photo exhibition in honor of rising young talent.
Cannes offered solid proof that French film is enjoying a long-awaited renaissance. Whether in art or in business, good films are the good-will ambassadors France needs.
Photo: (1) Though not part of the central competition, J ohn Sayles' ``Lone Star,'' featuring Kris Kristofferson, caused a stir at this year's Cannes Film Festival Cannes Film Festival
Film festival held annually in Cannes, France. First held in 1946 for the recognition of artistic achievement, the festival came to provide a rendezvous for those interested in the art and influence of the movies. .
(2) ``Trainspotting'' - a high-voltage film about Scottish addicts played by Ewen Bremner, left, Ewan McGregor and Robert Carlyle - wasn't part of the central competition either, yet was much talked-about.