Festival In Cannes Movie Review

Ten years ago Robert Altman's mordant Hollywood farce "The Player" premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and became an instant sensation. In 1999, writer-director Henry Jaglom took cameras to Cannes to give a similarly sardonic treatment to the increasingly commercial atmosphere surrounding the festival itself.

The resulting picture is "Festival In Cannes," the kind of sweet-and-sour insider movie that film buffs will eat up like so much gelati.

Borrowing visual, narrative and performance stylistic cues from Altman, Jaglom fuses together several astute and entertaining showbiz stories of wheeling and dealing, wonderment, deviousness and schmoozing on the red carpets, at the parties, in the street cafes and in the bungalows of five-star hotels.

One concerns a beautiful, naive but sagacious, pixie-ish young ingenue named Blue (Jenny Gabrielle), whose first film is the buzz of the festival. At the other end of the career spectrum is a legendary actress in her late 50s (played by the legendary French actress Anouk Aimée) whose age has put a damper on her career, but who suddenly finds herself in a dilemma over two competing projects.

On the one hand there's a possibly career-reviving offer from Ron Silver, who is just the right kind of slippery -- with an elusive nugget of possible sincere decency lurking somewhere under the surface -- as an Armani-clad L.A. studio executive who badly wants her to co-star as somebody's mom in a big Tom Hanks picture. On the other hand, she has a passionate portrait of a middle-aged woman whose grown children have moved on, affording her the chance to explore her own life for the first time in 25 years. A shoestring independent project being written and directed by another actress (Greta Scacchi) who has begun to feel the pinch of Hollywood sexist ageism herself, this is the film for which Aimée has a passion. But can she afford to do it instead of the blockbuster?

Circling around these three women at various stages of their careers are male vultures of varying degrees that give this film its edge and its humor.

A greasy, schmoozing shyster (Zack Norman) puts on the arrogant airs of a big-shot producer, offering to back Scacchi's picture but with one reservation: "Can you surround the old woman with young people?" he suggests. Aimée's philandering sometimes husband -- a formerly great director played with brilliant but endearing arrogance by Maximilian Schell -- shows up with yet another curvy starlet on his arm and all kinds of self-serving career advice. Silver's back-stabbingly ambitious assistant (Alex Craig Mann) takes Blue under his wing and into his bed, making the roguish Silver look honest in comparison when he begins romancing Scacchi, both professionally and personally.

Jaglom takes wry delight in smirking at the film industry and the cinematic supermarket/circus that high-profile film festivals have become. Yet he still finds the humanity and complexity in even the most counterfeit of characters, which lends "Festival In Cannes" an affectionate authenticity that makes up for its few shortcomings.

The director is so enamored of unstable handheld camerawork that a few otherwise wonderful scenes are ruined by motion sickness. All three of the women at the film's center are disappointingly susceptible to flattery and a well-timed kiss. And, well, the film has no third act to speak of.

But that particular problem isn't really a problem at all since any real film buff will find pleasure in contemplating the fates of the movie's characters, all of whom you'll find yourself surprisingly attached to by the time the credits roll.


Comments

Festival In Cannes Rating

" OK "

Rating: PG-13, Opened: Friday, April 12, 2002

Advertisement

Editors Recommendations

Contrary To Her Song Lyrics, Lana Del Rey Worked Her Way To The Top

Lana Del Rey is no stranger to vicious rumours, but she definitely did not...

Contrary To Her Song Lyrics, Lana Del Rey Worked Her Way To The Top

Weird Al Scores First U.S Number 1 With New Album

The album was released only one week ago and sold 103,000 copies to secure the top...

Weird Al Scores First U.S Number 1 With New Album

Peaches Geldof's Cause of Death Confirmed as Heroin Overdose

The second daughter of musician Bob Geldof, Peaches Geldof was thrust...

Peaches Geldof's Cause of Death Confirmed as Heroin Overdose

Robert Downey Jr.IS Iron Man... But For How Long?

You know who he is. Robert Downey Jr.’s involvement in the Iron Man franchise has been...

Robert Downey Jr.IS Iron Man... But For How Long?

Hercules Extended Trailer

Following his deadly ordeal of being put through the Twelve Labours by his father Zeus and his...

Hercules Trailer

Miley Cyrus Appears in Pharrell's New Video 'Come Get It Bae'

Cyrus also features on the track's vocals, and -perhaps most shockingly of all- resists...

Miley Cyrus Appears in Pharrell's New Video 'Come Get It Bae'
Advertisement

That Time Snoop Dogg Puffed Mary Jane at The White House

Snoop Dogg has joined Willie Nelson as weed-loving musicians who have smoked...

That Time Snoop Dogg Puffed Mary Jane at The White House

Gershwinner: Our Top 5 Billy Joel Songs

Billy Joel has long been regarded as one of music’s finest songwriters but it will soon be all more official...

Gershwinner: Our Top 5 Billy Joel Songs

Rob Reiner's 'And So It Goes' Is A Safe Bet At The Cinema This Weekend

Fresh from the critical and box office success of Behind The Candelabra, for...

Rob Reiner's 'And So It Goes' Is A Safe Bet At The Cinema This Weekend


More recommendations

Advertisement