ow Available In Cannes

Alan Morrison reports on the 46th Cannes Film Festival as it approaches its closing weekend, and tries his best to persuade everyone that it’s all work. Really.

Wahay! Beer. Babes. The odd film star. And I‘ve not even left Stansted Airport. We fly into Nice at lunchtime on Thursday 13, and it must be one of the most picturesque descents in the world. Down through light clouds. over an impossibly blue-green sea, along the coast past Cannes, Antibes, Juan-les- Pins to a runway that reaches out to the edge of the sea.

First stop is to pick up accreditation from the press office in the Palais des Festivals, the hub of all activity on the seafront boulevard known as La Croisette. It’s here that the crowds throng and the paparazzi gather as tuxedoed stars tread the red carpet for gala screenings. it’s also here that the main press shows and conferences take place and that the whole information or, at times, disinformation service is situated.

Holding pride of place among the displays is the Scottish Screen stand - the site of an ever-replenishing bowl of Edinburgh iiock.

immediately adjacent, overlooking the beach and the sun-soaked starlets, are the American and European Pavilions: sturdy, white, tent-like affairs with an assortment of industry stands, adequate baguettes and over-priced drinks. The bar of the European Pavilion becomes a sort of English boozer on the beach the assembled hacks and industry figures passing the time between screenings with a beer. Or, more likely, passing the time between beers with a film. Despite the setting, it does manage some of the authenticity of a London pub it seems to be entirely staffed by Australians.

Holding pride of place among the displays by the British Film institute and the British Film Commission is the Scottish Screen stand, where the combined forces of the Scottish film and broadcast industries promote the country as a particularly rich filmmaking option in terms of landscape and talent. it’s also the site of an ever-replenishing bowl of Edinburgh Rock.

The big names are certainly on show Robert De

Niro, Uma Thurman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jean- Claude Van Damme, Joan Collins and Sylvester Stallone have all made an appearance to date. Nastassja Kinski, Wim Wenders, Michael Douglas, Elizabeth Taylor, Emma Thompson and Denzel Washington are but a few of the others who are due to add their sparkle to the affair in the next few days. The press conferences are a law unto themselves, throwing up oddities by the handful Alexander Walker of the London Evening Standard verbally abusing director Abel Ferrara over his (rather excellent, i thought) remake of Body Snatchers; Charlie Sheen in to promote forthcoming high speed highway movie The Chase completely thrown when a former college friend, now working for Entertainment Today in Los Angeles, asks a question; Robert De Niro giving his trademark face- pull smile, but no answer, when asked if he wishes Naomi Campbell well in her forthcoming marriage to U2‘s Adam Clayton.

And then there are the films. A running joke has it that they gave the Palme D’Or to New Zealander Jane Campion when she arrived at the airport, so heavily fancied is her 19th century Scots Down under love triangle The Piano. And with stars Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel and Sam Neill in to add glamour to the gala, it‘s a fave with press and public (00.

However, the jury (headed by Louis Malle and with Gary Oldman as the sole UK voice) might sway toward the well received Naked, Mike Leigh‘s uncharacteristically dark and disturbing tale of sex and victimisation in London, or Much Ado About Nothing, Kenneth Branagh’s star-studded Shakespearian comedy. And while familiar Cannes figure Ken Loach certainly has a chance with the

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Brangh’s Much Ado About Nothing


strongly political Raining Stones, the fourth Brit up for the Palme D'Or Splitting Heirs is just a national embarrassment. Then again, this is farce, and they still love Jen'y Lewis here. An educated guess would send acting honours to The Piano‘s Holly Hunter and Naked‘s David Thewliss.

There’s also much fun to be had checking out market screenings, that wheeling ’n' dealing arena for which Cannes is famous or infamous, depending on your sense of humour. it’s here you can catch selected scenes from Crime and Punishment, directed by legend-in-his-own-straight-to-video-lifetime Menahem Golan and starring Crispin Glover (last year's posters proclaimed it to be Jon Voight helrned

An educated guess would send acting honours to The Piano’s Holly Hunter and Naked’s liavid Thewliss.

by a ‘major American director’). Or Roger Corman's Jurassic Park rip-off Carnosaurus. Or some that you pray will never see light of day - Maniac Nurses. Ninja Mom. Pistol Envy the list is endless.

Daily treks in the heat to check up on interview ties with each individual PR and distribution company can be a drag, particularly with a bag that starts out empty enough but soon fills up with production notes, daily copies of Screen International. Variety and Moving Pictures, and all the useless but obligatory crap we journalists accumulate. But, hey. it's sunny, the tan may yet appear now l’ve turned white rather than Scottish blue, and it sure beats dodging the raindrops on the Royal Mile.


The List 2] May—3 June l99313