Entertainment behind the scenes
By Jeffrey Hodgson
No one can accuse left-wing filmmakers Michael Moore and Ken Loach of abandoning their ideals as they joined the glitz and glamour of the Toronto International Film Festival, where Loach was promoting his Iraq war drama “Route Irish”.
Moore was briefly in town to interview Loach before an audience of fans. But even before the interview started, the “Fahrenheit 9/11″ director lamented the amount of corporate sponsorship at the festival. His event, sponsored by BlackBerry, took place in the festival’s snazzy new headquarters, which is sponsored by Canadian phone company Bell.
He said Loach asked him beforehand: ”Is there anything left that hasn’t been branded?”
The conversation quickly turned to war and the two directors backed the idea of Canada offering asylum to U.S. soldiers who have fled there to avoid service in Iraq or Afghanistan. They compared today’s situation with the Vietnam war, when thousands of draft dodgers fled to Canada.
The press conferences that follow screenings at Cannes are singular affairs, where journalists often spend as much time expressing their admiration as they do asking questions. They can be revealing nonetheless and rarely more so than when the regular master of ceremonies, a certain Henri Behar, introduces somebody as “very much part of the Cannes family.”
One of the persistent criticisms levelled at the world’s biggest film festival is that it always features the same names. It is an unfair criticism in some ways. There isn’t an infinite number of great film makers and so it isn’t surprising that certain directors and actors keep being invited back. But just running through this year’s main competition lineup, there certainly does seem to be something like a “Cannes family”.