The Cannes Film Festival is under way which began May 12 with the opening film by Pedro Almodovar, Bad Education
, a story about incest and the church. These are some of the highlights of the festival since the gender bending director climbed the steps of the Grand Lumiere for the premiere of the Spanish Mystic River
Quentin Tarantino, who strode onto the stage for opening night, and ummed a bit -- proudly exclaimed to France that he was honored to be "president of this magnifique festival" - a little carried away in the passion of the moment, because he’s just president of the jury.
Already on day one, jury member Actress Tilda Swinton took jury president QT to task at a press conference. They locked horns over their conceptions of cinema . Tarantino said audiences just wanted to see the stars , and asked Swinton if Hollywood was so bad why did so many British actors leave and come to Tinseltown. She replied that he was only talking about Hollywood industrial cinema and there were other kinds of cinema practice like low budget and art house.
Tarantino gushes out , I love Cinema, J'adore Cinema, Mon amour Cinema, Vive le Cinema, Cannes is heaven, etc etc voicing such a narrow idea of cinema .Tilda Swinton was diplomatic and piercing in her observation of his bias, noting cineplexes dominated by Hollywood fare sprouting up in her own country , and that ultimately he only speaks of one cinema: feature film Hollywood.
Quentin took some time out from jury presidenting to mingle with the cast of Kill Bill Volume 2
cast on the Croisette. And promised to deliver 4 hours of the stuff for a Cannes special screening,
Xan Cassavetes' (daughter of John Cassavetes) debuts a new documentary at Cannes this year Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession
-- a cinema heaven channel from the 70's which featured classics like Annie Hall, Fanny and Alexander, 1900, & Once Upon a Time in America
, --it also promoted auteurs like Stanley Kubrick, Akira Kurosawa and Sam Peckinpah. Despite attempts to save it folded on 1989 .
Xan interviewed QT, Jim Jarmusch and Robert Altman -- who claim the accessibility of the channel had a direct impact on their career. Now what was that comment about 'stars' and cineplexes again?
And the big shoe is ....Michael Moore who left his baseball cap in the hotel room and dressed up in suit and tie to present his new film.. Essentially, he knows Fahrenheit 911
is destined for cineplexes in shopping malls: it's not an art house piece. (Tilda grin and bear it). And its funny he sees himself as the straight man in the film and that Bush gets all the laughs. Hes worried thought that the President may try for screen credits. Moore goes to town with the Bush family’s ties to oil and dysfunctional family relation with the Bin Ladens. But The filmmaker claims his goal is not to get Bush to lose the election but to stop the war.
We can say that the 'star' thing is very much the allure of Cannes. The photographers and press focus on the big fish, or the scandals. Like Michael Moore says about the Iraqi news coverage, the big news giants are broadcasting their singular vision based on starpower, while smaller venues and freelancers tell the other stories.
Although there are exceptional arthouse pieces ('Nobody Knows', which seems to be one of the critics fave -- its the stars that are the 'eye candy'. Cannes does try to strike a balance in bringing many faces to cinema and thanks Tilda Swinton for reminded us of these. Jolly good!
At times like this its great to recall the words of Jean Cocteau who had this to say about Cannes: « The Festival is an apolitical no-man's-land, a microcosm of what the world would be like if people could contact each other directly and speak the same language »
Next week the winners of the Cannes Palme awards.
For Movie Magazine This is Moira Sullivan, Stockholm SWEDEN
© 2004 - Moira Sullivan - Air Date: 5/04
57th Cannes Film Festival, Part 2