Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

Cannes draws to close, reactions mixed

May 22, 2009

cannes131As the Cannes film festival headed toward it’s final weekend with a few films left to play on Saturday and awards to give away on Sunday, the reactions to films screening here seemed to be mixed and the star power decidedly low, which was what had been expected going into the world’s largest film gathering.

The frontrunner for the coveted Palme d’Or, the festival’s top honor, appears to be French film “Un Prophete” (“A Prophet”) from director Jacques Audiard, telling of a 19-year-old man who learns cannes111how to survive in prison. Read more about it here. Because Cannes is considered a festival where cinematic art is explored, winning the Palme d’Or does not always translate into commercial success, especially in the Hollywood-dominated United States. But Sony Pictures Classics acquired U.S. distribution rights to the film, and they are masters at luring U.S. audiences to foreign films. Perhaps their biggest success in that arena was Oscar nominee “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.”

The major starpower of the festival was, as expected, the Wednesday premiere of Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds,” which brought Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie to Cannes’ red carpet. You can read about that movie here. And if you want a peak inside their premiere party, just scroll down the Fan Fare blog, and we give you some video behind the velvet rope. The other major star on the carpet was Spain’s Penelope Cruz in Pedro Almodovar’s “Los Abrazos Rotos,” (“Broken Embraces”). Click here for a story on that title. Both of those movies ended up with mixed buzz from their Cannes screenings.cannes12

The big bomb was “Antichrist” from Denmark’s Lars von Trier, mostly because people considered it excessively brutal to the point of being gross. Read about it here. But But von Trier is considered an artist of cinema, and the thing about art is that it is supposed to challenge people, make them think in new ways and see the world differently. Perhaps that is what “Antichrist” eventually will do. It was picked up for distribution in the U.S. by IFC Films.

And the parties? Going into Cannes, merchants, caters, restaurateurs and others were expecting business to be down about 30 – 40 percent. That has likely proven to be true, but the real result won’t be known until after all the receipts are tallied up. But it is certain, there were fewer events, fewer invitations and fewer crowds along Cannes beachside Croisette and inside its posh hotels. That tale of low lights and dim star wattage — with the exception “Twilight” heartthrob Robert Pattinson, is here. Still, if you got in, the parties were cannes14just as fun as ever. We tried to bring you the parties here on the Fan Fare blog, and you can watch some of them by scrolling down.

Business was mixed, too. If you had a good movie, business was good. If not, it was pretty rough. That tale of haves and have-nots is here. And business can’t be frowned upon even at an art-focused, cinema-loving event like Cannes because, after all, money does make the world go around. That is as true in Cannes as it is in Hollywood.

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