Each year, hundreds of film festivals transpire, but Cannes is definitely one of the most celebrated. Indie director Henry Jaglom takes us within the 1999 Cannes Film Festival and regenerates the flavor of what it's like to be there. As the movie opens, Jaglom inserts a montage of photographs featuring actors and filmmakers who have visited the festival earlier. Actors like Grace Kelly, Charlie Chaplin, and directors like Alfred Hitchcock have attended.
It's not the festival itself that Jaglom explores, however. The festival just creates the setting for an assortment of brilliant (and fictional) characters, a la The Player, acquainting us with the hectic, cutthroat lives of actors, actresses, writers, directors, producers, executives, agents, and managers, all who are drawn together for the festival.
There's Alice Parker (Gretta Scacci), an actress who came to Cannes searching for the right producer of a script she has written. She finds a slick, aggressive con man named Caz (Zack Norman), who likes her ideas and instantly meets with French icon Millie Marquand (Anouk Aimée) whom Alice wants as her lead lady. Unfortunately, a big-time Hollywood producer (Ron Silver) already wants her in a Tom Hanks movie. What project will the actress choose? Mille's director husband (Maximilian Schell) advises her to follow her gut, but he abruptly changes his mind when the producer says he can direct the Hanks film.
Meanwhile, an inexperienced new actress (Jenny Gabrielle) instantaneously becomes the life of the film festival when her performance in an independent film draws much praise and speculation. As producers and managers pursue her talent, she must decide whether she wants to live a life of stardom or not.
Jaglom's style is, as always, anything but customary. With an uncommon soundtrack and a calm approach to the material, Festival in Cannes really feels like a documentary. The actors take advantage of improvisation and inject a sense of spontaneity into their scenes.
The movie also creates an effective environment for the characters. It enjoys the allure and prestige of the film festival, and the camera takes time to enjoy the scenery, panning the innumerable movie posters and advertisements hanging on billboards and building walls as we become accustomed to busy streets and huge crowds of people.
Festival in Cannes is a unique filmgoing experience as Henry Jaglom examines film as an art and as a business. In the process, he creates an engaging insider's world of enthusiastically entertaining characters and absorbing situations. The film proves that it's just as much fun watching a movie pitch session as it is watching the actual movie.
Run time: 100 mins
In Theaters: Thursday 25th July 2002
Box Office USA: $41.0k
Box Office Worldwide: $299.2 thousand
Distributed by: Paramount Classics
Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 65%
Fresh: 35 Rotten: 19
IMDB: 6.1 / 10
Director: Henry Jaglom
Producer: John Goldstone
Screenwriter: Henry Jaglom
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