Special Report: Cannes Goes Conservative

By Moira Sullivan
Movie Magazine International
The 55th Cannes Film Festival of 2002 was held May15 through 26th and for those who have a hard time with 70,000 fans and 5,000 paparazzi and prefer to watch the festival more comfortably such as MOI, the Cannes on-line festival site is still the best alternative.
Cannes is an important festival dominated by two arrogant picture palaces: France and the US. So you have to put up with the usual rivalry and envy. This year George Lucas was thrilled that European theatrical distribution is more open to digital projection than the USA. Michael Moore, winner of a Special 55th Cannes festival award for a documentary on gun control in the USA, 'Bowling for Columbine' was called a lousy filmmaker by one French journalist, "obsessed with what's wrong with America". Woody Allen is revered in France and the fact that he married his adopted daughter is unimportant in a country where the citizens have no problem with their presidents' having concubines. If you discard the superficiality of who is cloning what in pictures the Cannes festival sets the stage for this year's best cinema with lots of distinguished sidebars such as retrospectives on Paul Morrisey, Jacques Tati and Billy Wilder. This year's jury led by Missoula Montana's David Lynch also includes Sharon Stone and Bond girl Michelle Yeoh.

Woody Allen led off the opening ceremony accepting the coveted the Palmes de Palmes for his movies while admirer Sharon Stone who got her break in 'Stardust Memories' at the age of 20 looked affectionately on. Allen's latest film Hollywood Ending opened the festival. Woody analyzing why the French like him declared: "The two biggest myths about me are that I'm an intellectual, because I wear these glasses, and that I'm an artist because my films lose money". Scared to death at the public event he has turned down several times he joked he would call Amnesty International if he survived. He called the notorious Cannes photo call "chaotic, barbaric and frantic", proclaiming "the only good thing was that I was with two beautiful women and it was pleasurable" actresses Debra Messing and Tiffani-Amber Thiessen.

Woody who does not like festivals, or crowds said the French were so supportive of films over the years that although he always said no to Cannes as a reciprocal gesture he accepted this year thinking "the people would like his new film. Hollywood Ending is about a director who has a psychological shock and becomes blind on a shoot. In real life shooting is easy for Woody who admits he has never has had real stress, only financial sacrifices and has extremely lucky experience doing films. When asked if this was the 'end of an era' he answered, "No I think Hollywood will continue: it?s a way of life and very lucrative for people in the system. I've been lucky to work and live in N.Y. and never had the problems of Hollywood but the Hollywood phenomena will continue. Their films make a lot of money, maybe do not have substance but sufficiently to be successful.

This year Roman Polanski won the 'Palme d'or' for 'The Pianist', a film about the deportation of a brilliant Polish pianist, Wladyslaw Szpilman (played by Adrien Brody) and the pain and the struggle of living in the heart of the Warsaw ghetto. In the coming weeks more about the festival including the most talked about films and celebrities on the Cannes Croisette.

This is Moira Sullivan for Movie Magazine International, on line anywhere anytime.
More Information:
Cannes Goes Conservative
Cannes Film Festival 2002