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The Inside Story of the Cannes Film Festival

by Cari Beauchamp & Henri Behar

Pub Date: May 7th, 1992
ISBN: 0-688-11007-X
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

 A must-buy book for first-timers bound for the male-dominated Cannes Film Festival, by two old-timers who began as observers 15 years ago and now have decided to combine their notes and tapes. The 45-year-old festival was put on the map in 1954 when French actress Simone Sylva ``threw off her bikini top and replaced it with Robert Mitchum's hands,'' a photo of which doings went around the world and defined Cannes forever as sex and cinema. Today, AIDS has reduced the extracurricular activities so much that Cannes has become a working festival. With about 1500 films to sort out at the two-week festival each May, the attenders, explain Beauchamp (a former NPR reporter) and Behar (a Le Monde reporter), fall into two groups: the ``moles,'' who try to see everything and discover an unannounced masterpiece--they start daily at 8:00 a.m. and stop at midnight; and the ``moths,'' who party, make deals, and see only a few films. The authors tell the smart way to get passes and hotel rooms and to cut costs. In 1979, Francis Coppola, at Cannes with Apocalypse Now, simply rented a yacht in the bay for the entire festival and cooked a lot. Sample of Cannes dialogue: ``Did you hear the hostages were released?'' ``Released? I didn't know they were in postproduction.'' Beauchamp and Behar discuss the competing films, the marketplace, the partying, the stars, the studios, and America's presence in Cannes (as you enter the city, a sign declares: ``WELCOME TO CANNES, SISTER CITY OF BEVERLY HILLS, USA''); the critics, the agents, the flacks, the jury's selection process, and closing night. Special Jury Prize for Sheer Amusement. (Sixteen pages of b&w photos--not seen.)