Bienvenue à Cannes TCM Documentary

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moira finnie
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Bienvenue à Cannes TCM Documentary

Post by moira finnie »

Bienvenue à Cannes (2007), a Richard Schickel documentary about the famous film festival premiered last night on TCM. It was timed, undoubtedly, to coincide with the real opening of the commercial and artistic glorification of La Cinema in the south of France.

Frankly, better Schickel and the other hardy souls should attend this event than me! My envy level is smaller than a quark, but it does look as though it was more fun in the old days. Some memorable occurrences from that possibly more appealing time seem to be the day that a paparazzi-plagued Robert Mitchum encountered that bare-breasted lady on the beach, (in the photo he looks as though he thinks she's radioactive or as though he's about to pounce), or when one could wander up to a certain hotel room and interview a young Jack Nicholson about his directorial debut, Drive, He Said or encounter Ingrid Bergman having a convivial drink in the hotel bar with a starstruck Sidney Pollock. Based on the documentary's depiction of today's media-driven festival, it looks as though pretension and commerce have overwhelmed any naughty fun.

Best story from the doc: Producer Harvey Weinstein describing sneaking into a Cannes showing by the exit door with his brother in their early, penurious days as film entrepeneurs. Halfway through the showing, the French gendarmes show up to oust them, and a deep, authoritative voice from the back says: "Leave those kids alone." It was Sean Connery! Can you imagine having him speak up in your defense?

Best on camera appearance by a critic whose words I've enjoyed over the years: Richard Corliss, long of Film Comment and Time magazine, who looked and sounded like fun.

Has anyone else any comments about the documentary? Has anyone been there?
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Post by Erebus »

Though I had really been looking foward to watching it, I found it to be such a shallow, offensive orgy of self-congratulation that I had to switch channels. I returned to it several times over the course of the two broadcasts, hoping to see that it had evolved, but had to turn away again each time. Overall I did see more than half of it. While there can be no doubt that Cannes attracts a certain sector’s most creative individuals, in this documentary the snob factor was so completely out of control that the potential value of the content of the film was overwhelmed by the superficiality of the presentation, in my opinion.
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Post by moira finnie »

While there can be no doubt that Cannes attracts a certain sector’s most creative individuals, in this documentary the snob factor was so completely out of control that the potential value of the content of the film was overwhelmed by the superficiality of the presentation, in my opinion.
Hi Erebus,
Thanks so much for posting--I thought that you'd forgotten us. I tend to agree with you about the snobbism, but, and I say this as someone who's half French, we are talking about the French now. Could that exclusivity factor ever be eliminated from the appreciation of movies there? I doubt it.

Btw, have you or any other members ever attended a film festival? The only ones that I've ever experienced even a portion of are the annual Cinefest for old movie fans in Syracuse, NY and a student festival celebrating Michael Cimino in college where we could all drink beer while viewing The Deer Hunter and other films. Maybe that's why I don't remember much of Heaven's Gate.
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Post by Dewey1960 »

Moira wrote: "Has anyone else any comments about the documentary? Has anyone been there?"

Well, I missed the documentary, but I had the good fortune to attend the Festival in 1995. At the time I was deeply involved in film programmng and distribution and was able to justify the trip as a business expense. By '95 much of the romantic glamour that had typified the festival in its early days had been usurped by the crass realities of commercialism. Which is not to say that the Cannes experience of 1995 was anything less than fantastic, because it was just that: fantastic! The films themselves that year weren't all that memorable as I recall, apart from a raucous screening of KIDS, Larry Clark's incendiary film about wayward teens, hosted by the Weinstein Brothers on behalf of Miramax, the film's distributor. Harvey Weinstein stood at the entrance, wearing a garish Hawaiian shirt, smoking a hideous cigar and barking the folks in as if they were entering a strip club. The film itself sparked a heated reaction from the audience, many of the European attendees booing loudly and walking out in disgust.
We also had the opportunity to hang out with Lara Flynn Boyle (she was there for her little-seen film CAFE SOCIETY). The year before, our company and theater handled the distribution for the film RED ROCK WEST which she starred in with Nicolas Cage and Dennis Hopper. We had never met her during that experience, and catching up with her at Cannes was a blast--a truly fun, party person!
But the absolute highlight of the entire festival was the week-long tribute to none other than JOHN FORD. Each night a different film of Ford's played in one of the most beautiful venues at Cannes (forgive me, I forget the name of the theater) to overflowing crowds. The majority of the attendees were French and all of the prints were subtitled. The screenings of THE SEARCHERS and SERGEANT RUTLEDGE were most impressive. People were actually sobbing during THE SEARCHERS. Every screening ended with a rousing standing ovation. Even though I had seen all of the Ford films before, these screenings were, without a doubt, the absolute apex of my movie-going life.
So yes, my one and only experience of the Cannes Film Festival holds nothing but wonderful memories. I would love to go back someday.
Last edited by Dewey1960 on May 17th, 2007, 12:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by mrsl »

It seemed to me that towards the end of the doc, they said what I, and many others have been saying for quite some time, they're having a hard time finding films to enter in the festival. It seems at one time there was hearty debate and discussion before voting, yet today it has basically turned into a popularity contest because movie subjects, effects, and general lethargy have invaded the industry to a point that they're saying "we've seen all this before".

Oddly, I watched the Country Music Awards on Tuesday night, and for the 14th year in a row, Brooks & Dunn won as duo of the year. They were both visually embarrassed to accept and said later in radio news conferences, that they wished the voters would look more closely at some of the other duos who are recording today. They literally named names and almost begged voters to seek other artists next year. This has been their reaction for the last several years, but this year, the comments were repeated quite often on Wednesday. This, to me, is true sportsmanship.

One other thing about CMA artists, in their acceptance speeches, they invariably start with thanking the fans for listening and buying their records before thanking their wives, husbands, managers etc. I notice that particular thank you missing from most Emmy, and Oscar award shows. I can't say for Tony or other musical award shows because I avoid them due to my aversion to most of today's popular 'music.

Anyway I'm with moira (I think it was) who has no interest in visiting a Cannes film festival.

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Post by Kyle In Hollywood »

I enjoyed the documentary a lot. It wasn't too scholarly but I don't think the Cannes Film Festival is all that edifying anymore either.

My favorite "bit" in the program was seeing multi-faceted and multi-titled Richard Schickel - the program's Writer / Director / Producer / Commentator - filming his interview in front of a portrait of Napolean Bonaparte! Sitting in front of that picture was just too perfect a bit of "commentary" about the man responsible for the project to not have been intentional.

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Post by Sue Sue Applegate »

I enjoyed seeing it, too. It was fun for me hearing about people's impressions. And I know it wasn't "scholarly," but I liked hearing folks reminisce, and thinking about going to all the parties.

If I could have chosen a festival to attend, it would probably have been the one where Mitchum was photographed on the beach! I also enjoyed
seeing Gena Rowlands.

Moira, I was lucky enough to attend the British Film Institute Media
Studies conference this summer and saw the premiere of Pedro
Almodovar's Volver with Penelope Cruz (Spanish, w/ subtitles).
It was a good film.
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Moraldo Rubini
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Cannes it

Post by Moraldo Rubini »

Has anyone else any comments about the documentary? Has anyone been there?
I've been to Cannes several times, but never when the Festival was happening. Beautiful beaches, handsome waiters bringing fresh raspberries and sparkling water to your chaise longue... ah, those were the days.

A pal of mine is at the Festival now. I'll have to get a report from her...
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Post by Vecchiolarry »


I've been to Cannes too but not when the Festival is on.
I prefer Nice much better though. It's down the road east, and further on is Monaco.
My grandmother owned a large villa, coral coloured, at Cap Ferrat on the southern beach. I have seen pictures of it last year and it is being renovated after years of neglect. If ever I learn how to post pictures here, I'll show it to you.

The beach in front of the Carlton Hotel is nice but busy; some of the other beaches are kind of rocky.
The beaches at Nice and Cap Ferrat are like marble.

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