A mostly pleasant surprise in a year that has produced a lack of stellar animated outings.
CANNES, France -- The Cannes Film Festival has its first unqualified hit in a ribald new comedy by Spain's Pedro Almodovar, and an oddball conversation piece in "The Limey," by the American Steven Soderbergh. As Hugh Hefner's Playmates slug it out with the Hawaiian Tropics girls for the photo op prize, the 52nd annual event is in full swing. Even Chicago's world-famous gate-crasher is in attendance.
CANNES, France -- Bimbos and convergence. Those are the two topics that come to mind for your Cannes correspondent. I will see nine movies this weekend and hope to have some good ones to write about in my next dispatch. But . . . convergence! I have been talking about nothing else.
CANNES, France -- If Gilles Jacob, the overlord of the Cannes Film Festival, had gotten his way, the Palais des Festivals would have been trembling Wednesday night with the THX soundtrack of "Star Wars -- Episode I: The Phantom Menace." Jacob likes to open his festival with a blockbuster, just to remind everyone what a movie is, before they disappear into intense screenings of tortured adaptations of obscure novels by Herman Melville.
CANNES, France -- One year I arrived in Cannes a little early, two days before the festival was scheduled to begin, and watched the waiters on the famous terrace of the Carlton Hotel as they loaded the good furniture into trucks and unloaded the weather-beaten rattan that I had come to know and love.
PARK CITY, Utah -- The kid made a deal!
PARK CITY, Utah How long has it been since I saw a film that was really scary, instead of just going through the motions of scary? Most horror films are merely exercises in ritualized surprise, but a low-budget film titled "The Blair Witch Project" shook up Sundance Film Festival audiences with its gathering sense of menace.
PARK CITY, Utah Of course I've seen all the wrong films so far at the Sundance Film Festival, according to the touts who whisper in my ear before screenings. It is always this way. You think you're seeing wonderful films, and everybody assures you that you've missed the masterpieces and are hopelessly out of the loop.
PARK CITY, Utah -- So this kid accosts me last Thursday night while I'm standing in the lobby before the Robert Altman film.
PARK CITY, Utah -- You have to go to something like Robert Redford's annual "filmmakers' brunch" to sense the level of ambition, hope and need at the Sundance Film Festival. You understand that the festival is a showcase for independent filmmakers. You know that a lot of them are here with their first or second movies and a game plan to make a sale, find distribution, win awards and generate buzz.
PARK CITY, Utah -- At most film festivals, 90 percent of the audience members are civilians and 10 percent are employed in the industry. At Sundance, the ratio is reversed. Screenings here consist of pitches, bids, dealmaking, business card exchanging and schmoozing, interrupted by movies.