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French connection

The film world is currently out in force at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival. Alan Morrison finds plenty to write home about.

Rumour has it. it’s a quieter Cannes this year. No big stars. no L'S blockbusters in competition. There are mumblings that the Festival organisers are cincma‘s equivalent of French farmers setting up their own CATT— inspired blockade in favour of a stronger emphasis on Europe and the Far East. But this is no bad thing. as the lowering of the Stars and Stripes Hollywood studio movie has allowed Cannes to regain. in many respects. its artiste integrity. Any festival that boasts new work by directors of such standing as Zhang Yinou. (iuiseppc Tornatore. Krzysztof Kieslowski. Alan Rudolph and Jan Svankmejer can certainly hold its head high. And the big names are around. despite the grumbles Clint Eastwood and Catherine Deneuve head the jury. while the likes of Bruce Willis. Tim Robbins. (ierard l)epardicu. Juliette Binoche and kathleen Turner already have or will soon have the paparazzi screaming for attention. The French crowds certainly aren‘t shy about going mental over the appearance of Isabelle Adjani and others at the early gala screening of bloody historical epic [a Reine Margot.

The Americans are still in evidence. however. Two US movies top and tail the Festival. although it could be argued that the corporate fantasy of the Coen Brothers' Hmlsza'ker Proxy and John Waters‘ darkly satirical Serial Man attack American culture more than celebrating it. There have also been promo reels on show for upcoming biggies including the Macauley Culkin vehicle The l’aymasler and William (iibson‘s Johnny .llnemonir'. and a market screening of Rob Reiner‘s North. The beachfront street known as La Croisette has massive posters for A’Illl'f’Tt‘k and Beverley Hills Col; 3’ has replace last

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year‘s Jurassic Park as the display surrounding the prime site of the Carlton Hotel entrance.

If there‘s no obvious competition film settiing the streets abuzz as The Piano did last year. then the market is also lacking a Strielly Ballroom. Here. dozens of cinemas and small screening rooms show the wares of producers and sales companies from across the world. It‘s a good place to suss out the films that were the hits of 1994‘s earlier festivals. and also the place to be bored rigid. Only the massive scope of Cannes could have a documentary like Bosnia.’ —- with its harrowing images. too strong for UK television or newspapers. of atrocities in former Yugoslavia playing side by side with the latest indomitable Troma team l’emme [Va/ale: Killer Ila/2e For The ('M.

The market is also where Scottish film Shallow (have had its world premiere on Monday m. Director Danny Boyle. producer Andrew Macdonald

and writer John llodge were all present at a packed—

out screening to see their baby a black comedy

thriller about three flatmates. a suitcase of money and some mutilated corpses take its first bow. As market screenings go. this was a great success: distributors and buyers tend not to laugh too much or be over enthusiatsic in case it pushes the price up. but the guffaws. the intakes of breath. and the gushing praises at the end showed that the film had the audience in the palm of its hand. Sure. there were some who hated it due to the violence. but few could deny the strength of the performances. direction or set design. A quality product. which should be snapped up by world buyers: pie-Cannes. l’olygram had already shelled out SI million for distribution rights in IS. CK. France. (ierniany and Benelux. Willi .S/Hl/lntt‘ (have as the flagship. the Scottish contingent in Cannes have plenty to shout about. 011 the industry side. business is brisk at the Scottish

stand in the heart of the liuropcan l’avilion. with several serious enquiries about location work coming on the back of new s that big budget movies such as the William Wallace epic Brave/rear] will spend a while shooting in Scotland. And Scottish hospitality was sampled and enjoy ed on Wednesday when the l)rambuie lidinburgh Film Festival held its annual Cannes reception. Festival Director l’enny Thomson was keeping tight—lipped about what's in the trolley from the Riviera shopping spree. but as the Cannes programme has shown. there will be plenty of goodies to declare at Customs on the way home.

Christopher Eccleston in Shallow Grave

:— Gannes heat

The tips, the buzz and what’s hot on La Croisette.

I Priscilla - Queen Of The Desert With about 2000 people turned away from its midnight premiere screening. this Aussie drag movie is by far the hottest ticket at this year‘s Fest. Transvestites Hugo Weaving and Guy (Nick from Neighbours) Pearce plus transsexual Terence Stamp head into

the outback in a clapped-out. lavender- : tinted bus fora drag show in Alice Springs. Screamineg funny musical 5 set-pieces. outrageous costumes and glorious ‘l)ragarama‘ photography keep it on the up while the more serious points raised by the characters‘ sexuality and the film‘s subject matter show this isn‘t just a laughing matter.

I Under The Olive Trees A director struggles to make a film in an area recently devastated by an earthquake. relying on amateur local actors wjo have problems distancing themselves

' from their parts. Conversations on the

1 current state of Iran‘s rural population

1 and a sweet central love story will

members alike.


endear this deceptively simple lranian film to audiences. critics and jury

I The Browning Version Britain's only entry in the official competition is Mike liiggis' remake of'l’crrcnce Rattigan‘s play and it may well bring the actor's ‘Palme‘ back to L'K shores thanks to a magnificent performance by Albert Finney. He plays a domineering classics teacher who is moved to reassess his life and marriage when a pupil gives him a book as a leaving

I A Pure Formality (iuiseppe Tornatore. director of Cinema [iarac/iso l changes back to a Hollywood-style noir

with existential leanings. Gerard l)epardicu is the reclusive writer and

murder suspect undergoing interrogation by police inspector and fan Roman Polanski. Suberb acting in a \ iitual two-hander and the best plot twist of the festival.

I Pulp Fiction Following Resevoir Dogs is a heavy task. even for irrepressible Quentin 'l'arantino. and so on the final Saturday. all eyes will be on the trilogy starring John Travolta. Harvey Keitcl and Bruce Willis (as a down-and-out boxer in the most talked- about section). Expect violence. Lots of violence. as the running time is around two-and-a half hours.

sponsored by BACARDI BLACK

18 The List 20 May—2 June I994