After last year‘s 40th birthday blow-out. the stated aim of this year's (‘annes Film Festival was to return to the serious business of cinema and the quest to discover the major filmmaking talents ofthc next decade. A laudable aim that was never fully realised in a festival where the calibre of the Official selection and the unpredictability of the elements were frequently dispiriting.

Director Ltic Besson had previously staked his claim for consideration with The Last Bull/e and Subway. and amply confirmed his stylish sense of larger-thamlife cinema with The Big Blue. which filled the traditionally maligned slot

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the South

The annual gathering ofthe great. the good and the bankable commodity in celluloid terms has just finished in Cannes. Allan Hunter was there.

ofopening night film. Once again featuring a slightly naive hero dreaming impossible dreams. Besson has created a dazzling. globetrotting adventure that is both a paean to the mysteries and beauty of an underwater universe and an assertion of individual liberty as Jacques Mayol chooses between the pull of conventional life and love or the exhilarating sense of release he acquires in the depths of the sea. Personal and political freedom

emerged as one of the central preoccupations in this year's Festival. illustrated in a multiplicity ofsettings— whether it was Fernando Solanas‘s The South. detailing the repercussions of a worker‘s militancy in the Argentine ofthc (ienerals. or Robert Redford‘s‘ gently humorous and magical fable The ilrIi/ugro Beanfield War in which one man‘s stand against the greed and destructiveness of big business rouses a small community towards

The Mllagro Beautield War


collective action and the re—discovery of its self-worth. however temporarily.

Redford flew in from Russia (‘1 w l\ in the neighbourhood) to introduce the European premiere of his second directorial effort and was one of a starry 1988 cast list that also included (‘lint Eastwood. Richard (icrc. Max \'on Sydow. Sting. Nastassja Kinski. Willem Dafoc. Rosanna Arquette. David Lean. Susannah York. Arnold Schwarzenegger. member s of the Monty Python team and variegated Brat Packers. Redford also seemed representative of a continuing trend towards the actor-director. Both \'on Sydow and Eastwood were in (‘anncs on the basis of their merit behind the cameras: the former with the loy e story Kalinku and the latter with Bird a multi-faceted biography of the jazz legend (‘harlie Parker that features a titanic performance from the tip and coming Forest Whitaker.

Bob llosk'ins‘ The Raggedy Run-hey proved a generally honourable directorial debut containing a potent anti-war statement. The newest auteur in town. however. was Bob (ieldol. who arrived to inform us of his endeavours as the co-writcr and director of ( 'on-hoys. a fictionalised account of some setni-autobiographical experiences relocated to the week ofthc Pope‘s visit to Ireland in 197‘).

With a healthy representation in all sections of the competition and the return of the ever-popular Pavilion. the British presence in (‘annes promised tnuch this year. but only really delivered the goods in isolated packages. (‘hris Mcnges' much-admired A World Apart is a distinguished additioti to the modest but growing genre of anti-apartheid dramas that had the French falling over themselves to thank him for ‘making the film that Mr Attenborough didn't.‘ ()nc suspects that his film was applauded more for the sentiments it expresses than any particular boldness in its approach.

Set in 1963 and based on real events. it is a powerful and mov ing story ofa daughter coming to terms with the political beliefs of her parents at a time when her father w as forced to flee the country and her truth-seeking journalist mother was


W'I‘helfis-t 27 : Z) 1988 9