New York's Weekly Newspaper March 11, 2002
Romance and Deal-Making High Jinks Unfold in "Festival in Cannes"

Rex Reed

Festival in Cannes Review

Attending the annual circus called the Cannes Film Festival is rather like being trapped in the middle of a speeding bus on its way to nowhere with all the exit doors locked and bad movies projected on all the windows. Filmmakers have for years been irresistibly drawn to the idea of making a movie with the insanity of Cannes as an alluring backdrop. Imagine the possibilities: love scenes against the billboards of all-star epics that will never be made, gatecrashers on cell phones begging to be paged among the popping champagne corks at the Carlton Terrace, movie stars stepping out of limos, fashion victims climbing the red carpet at the Palais du Festival to attend somebody else's Premiere, and a cameo a minute as directors and press agents and porn kings and hookers and curiosity-seekers who max out their Visa cards vie for photo ops on the Croisette. Henry Jaglom, one of the original gurus of indie-prod, is the director who has finally realized the dream.

...Festival in Cannes, filmed entirely on location during the two-week festival in 2000, is the daffy, engrossing, enlightening, and entertaining result. For voyeuristic novices and battle-weary veterans alike, it captures a dizzyingly accurate portrait of what it's really like, at the most famous, exhausting and overrated celluloid supermarket in the world, to rub elbows with the cigar-smoking wheelers and dealers who are buying and selling scripts, ideas, computers, popsicles and each other. There is even something you rarely find in the movies at Cannes: a plot. An impressive cast plays the funny, fearless and sometimes desperate denizens in the Cannes of worms. Greta Scacchi plays a successful actress in need of both a career change and someone to finance it who comes to Cannes to pitch a gritty, uncommercial fim about an unhappy American housewife, which she hopes to direct. (is a Gena Rowlands type we hope to get Gena Rowlands.) Ron Silver plays a pushy Hollywood producer looking for an all-star cast for a Tom Hanks movie. Anouk AimÃee, still as ravishing and mysterious as she was in A Man and a Woman, plays an international film star who hasn't had a decent role in years. She's in Cannes for an homage with her cynical ex-husband (Maximilian Schell), an arty director who scowls at big-budget Hollywood epics but would secretly sell his soul to direct one. Meanwhile, there is newcomer Jenny Gabrielle as a hot new starlet who wants to throw away her budding career for art films, and Alex Craig Mann, who plays Mr. Silver's ambitious assistant with plans of his own. They all fall into the hands of a fast-talking con man (played with zest by Jaglom regular Zack Norman) who is really just a chauffeur with delusions of grandeur. Mr. Silver and Ms. Scacchi both want Anouk. Anouk is torn between the low-budget film and the Tom Hanks blockbuster, Mr. Schell wants her to take the Hollywood offer so he can make a commercial comeback, and they all want money. Everyone seems to be holding the trump card, but in reality they are all in need of a job.

...Festival in Cannes is funny and sexy as it exposes the pretentious hysteria and desperation of the Cannes con. Fragments of plot are interspersed with shots of everything from the traffic jams full of tourists reading the International Herald Tribune and guzzling designer bottled water to the lavish beach cabanas of the Hotel du Cap. In and out of frame trots a parade of the usual suspects interfacing during punishing press conferences and countless cocktails Faye Dunaway, William Shatner, Peter Bogdanovich (very droll as a Hollywood director). In the end, nobody ends up with what they came there for but there's always next year, and another Festival in Cannes.