Special Report By Moira Sullivan
You don't have to go to Cannes anymore thanks to web TV. And this festival has one of the best sites of any --www.festival-cannes.fr. The star's enter, are briefly interviewed followed by film clips of their work, have a photo call, answer questions for a good hour with the critics and then waltz up the red carpet when their films debut at night-- all in the comfort of your own home. It’s a pageant where everyone shows up to be seen and promote his or her films while the on-line world watches. Reports from the festival press conferences shown in full on Web TV wind up in critic’s reports. And who’s to know if they were actually there!
Film festival websites are now selling their streaming audio and video to different venues such as film distributors and airline companies for in-flight infomercials. And the business is growing with hundreds of new film festivals each year. The first Cannes festival was held in 1946 and that year everyone whose film was shown received a prize. Maya Deren's films from the USA won in the best amateur film category which she claimed cost what Hollywood spends on lipstick. Today there is no such event. Quite the contrary, the new artistic director of Cannes, Thierry Fremaux is said to be romancing Hollywood. And as proof Victoria Jensen and Andrew Adamson’s Shrek, and Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge,, an Austrialian/US co-production premiered at this year’s festival held May 9-20, just to dispel the notion that the festival does not value American movies.
Clearly it depends on who is on the jury as far as the film which wins the coveted Palme d’Or, or Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival. Last year Luc Besson headed the jury, awarding the Golden Palm to eccentric Lars von Trier's Dancer in the Dark .
This year’s festival jury was headed by one of Ingmar Bergman's leading ladies, Liv Ullman and the award of the Golden Palm went to a real tear jerker, Nanny Moretti's My Son's Room from Italy. Any Golden Palm awarded to a film with a scene with a happy nuclear family singing off key on a car outing is suspicious indeed for a jury headed by Ullman. Yes, you can make this rush to judgment by just looking at the film clips and excerpts from the film competition scripts on the website. Cannes paid homage to Ullman’s work at the festival opening, splendidly captured on web TV with the scene in which she floats into Bibi Andersson's mosquito netted bedroom at night in Ingmar Bergman's Persona –just one of the artistic masterpieces she starred in the 1960's and 1970's.
Exquisite Asian films were virtually ignored again this year for awards, except for sound achievement to Chao Yang for Runaway. Asian critics complain that Western writers do not understand their films and this we find out courtesy of a mailbox feature to the Cannes site where reviewers can add their comments about the film selections.
Critics featured on yahoo.com wrote that the prize for Best Screenplay went to the USA-- but upon closer examination, the shared award this year went to films were made by two unconventional art house director's: David Lynch for Mulholland Drive –who thanked Cannes for being his favorite festival and Joel Coen for The Man Who Wasn't There , hardly your slice 'em and dice 'em American crowd. I wonder how a film like Sean Penn's Privilege was selected to be shown at Cannes though, and as he hopes, fare better than in the USA. Penn complained that the film was unappreciated in America and was more 'European' in style at the on-line press conference.
Sometimes I wonder why critics who don’t get the coveted press passes to the right screenings and conferences idle away their time with the festival periphery. Why don’t they just go to their hotel rooms and go on-line? An alternative festival for example takes place for buyers to preview pornographic films —where you don’t need a pass. And let's face it that industry is bigger than Cannes and Hollywood combined. You have to really work at being a party crasher at Cannes if you lack the right credentials because this is not just a festival but a huge film market with stars right and left lining up for the red carpet ride. Just how Cannes will develop through the years remains to be seen but for the moment everybody has something to say about it and for the record you don't have to be there to find it out.
This is Moira Sullivan for Movie Magazine International, Anywhere, On-line.
© 2001 - Moira Sullivan - Air Date: 6/01
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