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Day Two At Cannes with Willem Defoe, Paul Auster, and the International Market of Technologies and I

Day Two At Cannes with Willem Defoe, Paul Auster, and the International Market of Technologies and I

Day Two At Cannes with Willem Defoe, Paul Auster, and the International Market of Technologies and Innovation in Cinema

by Stephen Garrett

Day two of the Cannes film festival has brought more screenings and more
crowds, with one report estimating 4,000 members of the press
alone, not even counting the throngs of producers, distributors, and
exhibitors all vying to elbow their way into the most popular films, among
them Terry Gilliam’s “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” as well as “Lulu on the
“, Paul Auster’s directorial debut playing out of competition in Un
Certain Regard. “Lulu” at this point has been picked up in most major
territories except the United States, sure to be a temporary status with a
film that stars Harvey Keitel, Mira Sorvino, Willem Defoe, Mandy Patinkin, and
Gina Gershon, with a cameo from David Byrne (and even Stockard Channing’s
voice on one character’s answering machine).

“[First-time director Auster] was very prepared,” Defoe told IndieWIRE at
an informal, 6th-floor apartment cocktail reception that overlooked the red-
carpeted entrance to the Grand Palais. “But with such a limited shooting
schedule and budget, he had to be.” A few champagne bottles away Auster later
concurred, confiding that his $9 million production was tightly-scripted, in
contrast to his experience working with Wayne Wang on the highly
improvisational “Blue in the Face“. “I learned everything from him,” Auster
said of the director with whom he also concurrently made “Smoke”, “He was my
film school for two years.”

Among the competitive entries having enjoyed their public showings are Patrice
Chereau’s “Ceux Qui M’Aiment Prendront Le Train” (Those Who Love Take the
), a kind of francophonic and familial “Big Chill” in which the death of a
moderately successful painter requires his relatives to travel by train out of
Paris to bury the body in a small town family plot; and “La Vendedora De Rosas
(The Little Girl Who Sold Roses), Victor Gaviria’s tragic portrayal of dirt-
poor Columbian street kids who sell flowers and steal to pay for food,
clothing, and the glue they all sniff from large jars to get stoned.

Although the festival has allowed for the presence of the International Film
Market (MIF), this year Cannes also includes the International Market of
Technologies and Innovation in Cinema (MITIC), a new organization designed to
demonstrate and promote the ever-increasing ways in which the digital
revolution is taking over more and more of the filmmaking process. With
booths demonstrating Avid editing systems, DVD players, and other digital
media, visitors can also attend five days’ worth of planned seminars on
special effects, new digital screening methods, digital restoration for older
films, and training for the use of new equipment, making sure that the
festival represents the forefront of film technology even as it presents the
latest in world cinema.

Meanwhile, one of last night’s most anticipated screenings (at least for
Americans) won’t even be a movie, let alone take place in a movie theater —
the American Pavillion, following its traditions of live sports broadcasts and
special television events, is throwing a “Seinfeld” party, with the festivities
to begin at 11:30 p.m. and the last episode of America’s favorite sitcom starting
two bleary-eyed hours later, at 1:30 a.m. Don’t worry: it’s almost guaranteed
that today’s 8:30 a.m. film screenings with still be packed with cinephiles.


(May 14, 1998) Cannes Kickoff — Nichols, Scorsese, Troma, and Pamela Lee

(Apr 23, 1998) 1998 Cannes Film Festival Lineup

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