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At the Cannes Film Festival, big-time producer Rick Yorkin (Ron Silver) is attempting to package finance and creative personnel for a Tom Hanks movie. If he can convince legendary French actress Millie Marquand (Anouk Aimee) to play a small role, everything will fall into place. Meanwhile, actress Alice Palmer (Greta Scacchi) has written a script and wants Millie Marquand to play the lead. A producer of dubious pedigree, Kaz Naiman (Zack Norman), promises to help Alice and manages to set up a meeting with Marquand. If Millie Marquand agrees to star in Alice's dream project, Yorkin's $80 million movie deal will collapse. 

Review by Richard Kuipers:
Most people who've been to the Cannes Film Festival will tell you about their love/hate relationship with the event. Henry Jaglom's comedy of festival manners is an accurate and amusing account of what goes on during those two weeks in May when the sharks of the movie world migrate to the south of France. Jaglom, who has taken his own films to Cannes, knows the territory intimately and plays his neatly plotted outing as the true confessions and observations of an inside trader. The fun here is watching the twists and turns as hot shot Hollywood producer Rick Yorkin (Ron Silver) and the hustler from nowhere, Kaz Naiman (Jaglom regular Zack Norman), pull every sneaky rabbit out of the hat to ensure their project receives Millie Marquand's all-important signature. All the egomania, backstabbing, fake smiles and genuine love of cinema as art that drive Cannes is present as these combatants get down to business. The tone is sly and knowing but never bitter because Jaglom knows from experience that filmmakers chasing something more artistically meaningful than the next brainless blockbuster can and do actually succeed in this environment. Made in the semi-improvised style that characterises much of Jaglom's work, this is impressively carried off by a fine cast, particularly the luminous Aimee and Greta Scacchi whose career has intriguing parallels with those of the character she plays. Jaglom's ear for dialogue is good but his visual sense is as unimaginative as ever. Drab framing and clunky editing take some of the gloss off an otherwise snappy satire of what makes Cannes the crazy, wonderful, horrible event that it is.

Review by David Edwards:
The annual film circus that is the Cannes Film Festival provides a fascinating backdrop to this uneven “mockumentary” film from veteran indie auteur Henry Jaglom. Jaglom has to be congratulated for his vision and persistence in shooting a fictional film amidst the real-life whirl of the planet’s most prestigious film festival. The result though is a patchwork quilt of scenes, characters and ideas that work intermittently. Indeed, the film seems to mirror that being touted by its protagonist Alice in that its script never seems to be quite ready. Jaglom introduces us to a range of characters – writers, producers, veteran directors, uppity agents, aging stars, upcoming starlets, hopers and dreamers – all of whom, with the exception of Alice, are thoroughly unlikable, making it difficult to empathise with any of them. This is made all the more difficult by Jaglom’s decision to shoot with hand-held cameras. While this provides a spontaneous feel, the sloppy film editing and strident sound editing distances the audience from the characters. Since there is no screenplay credit, we are left to assume the film was largely improvised, and the lack of narrative drive is telling; as are the number of “in-jokes” which will bypass most audiences. At its best though (and there are plenty of delicious moments), Festival in Cannes is a witty and quite lovely homage to the best and worst in the film industry. Greta Scacchi is wonderful as Alice. One wonders how true to life the character is, and whether this could be a precursor to her foray into directing. Zack Norman makes a fine sleaze-ball as Kaz; while Ron Silver is every bit the Hollywood player as Rick. Some of the best scenes in the film belong to Anouk Aimee and Maximilian Schell as the mature separated couple on the road to reconciliation. Festival In Cannes isn’t so much a narrative film as a collection of moments pulled together into a reasonable facsimile of a story, but never achieving the required cohesion to be truly compelling. If you’re looking for an insider’s look at the machinations of a major film festival however, this film provides plenty of insight.

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CAST: Anouk Aimée, Greta Scacchi, Maximilian Schell, Ron Silver, Zack Norman, Peter Bogdanovich

PRODUCER: Jerry Goldstone

DIRECTOR: Henry Jaglom

SCRIPT: Henry Jaglom


EDITOR: Henry Jaglom

MUSIC: Gaili Schoen

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Sharon Lester Kohn & Lauren Beck

RUNNING TIME: 99 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: Brisbane: August 1, 2002 (other states to follow)

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