Cannes Roundup

The 54th annual Festival International du Film de Cannes has ended, and yet another film you will likely never see won the Palme d’Or. The Son’s Room, Italian director Nanni Moretti’s tragicomedy about a psychoanalyst whose happy family life is shattered when his teen-age son dies in a freak diving accident, snagged the Boot’s first top Cannes prize in almost a quarter century. The film, which opened March 8th in Italy, has already earned $3.5M in its native country.

David Lynch and Ethan Coen, longtime Cannes darlings, shared the Best Director honors. Coen for his black and white barber treatise The Man Who Wasn’t There, Lynch for his failed TV pilot turned feature film Mullholland Drive. The hometown frogs, however, ended up with the most awards for a single film, with Michael Haneke’s The Piano Teacher receiving nods for Best Actor (Benoit Magimel), Best Actress (Isabelle Hupert) and the Grand Jury Prize.

The remainder of the winners

Best Screenplay: No Man’s Land by Danis Tanovic (Bosnia)

Technical Prize: Taiwanese sound engineer Tu Duu-chih for What Time is it Therer (by director Tsai Ming-liang from Taiwan) and Millennium Mambo (by Hou Hsiao-hsien, also from Taiwan)

Palme d’Or for Best Short Film: Bean Cake by David Greenspan (US)

Jury Prize for Fiction (short film): Daddy’s Girl (Irvine Allan)

Jury Prize for Animation (short film): Pizza Passionata (Kari Juusonen)

Camera d’Or for first-time director: Atanarjuat, the Fast Runner by Zacharias Kunuk (Canada)

Lifetime Achievement Award: Melanie Griffith

The last prize alone should tell you how crappy a year it was at Cannes. One can only wonder what iconoclast filmmaker Terry Gilliam, a jury member this year who walked around the Croisette with a “Can Be Bribed” t-shirt, must be thinking as he sees the untalented pair of silicone implants be awarded a career award when he can’t find funding for a number of his projects.

The BBC reports preliminary plans are in the works for a Lord of the Rings theme park in the city where Peter Jackson has been shooting his $300M adaptations of the famed novels by JRR Tolkien. Wellington Mayor Mark Blumsky is hoping to bring tourists to his otherwise dreary country by cashing in on the expected hype the trilogy will no doubt generate between now and December 2003, when the last of the three films will be released.

With the end of Cannes and huge success of Moulin Rouge’s blockbuster opening in New York and LA being yesterday’s news, the eyes of the entertainment world are in Hawaii today for the premiere of Pearl Harbor for 2,000 invited guests atop the deck of the aircraft carrier the USS John C Stennis. The Navy is accepting from Disney upwards of $5M to whore out part of our fleet for this disgustingly decadent extravaganza just a few hundred yards from the resting place of the USS Arizona for a few sound bytes on “Access Hollywood”. Go Navy!

When one speaks of independent filmmakers, there are truly only a handful that can accurately be tagged as such. One such “true independent” is Henry Jaglom. Thanks largely to a family fortune, Jaglom has been able to skirt outside the industry by writing, producing, directing his own films and releasing through his Rainbow imprint. Jaglom, who found a personal mentor in Orson Welles during the final two decades of the master filmmaker’s life, has directed 16 features since his debut A Safe Place in 1971 featured Welles and close friend Jack Nicholson. Dennis Hopper, Dean Stockwell, Carol Kane and David Duchovny have also found themselves featured in Jaglom films over the years. His 1990 film Eating played at the Monica arthouse fourplex in Santa Monica for over almost two years. His films rarely do more than a million dollars at the box office, but he keeps at it, thanks to healthy video agreements all around the world.

Jaglom has announced his latest project with wife and collaborator Victoria Foyt, entitled Shopping, which Jaglom is calling the third film in his “women trilogy” that began with Eating and continued with Babyfever. The $3.5M film, costarring Lee Grant, Pamela Bellwood, Cynthia Sikes, Marcia Strassman and Robert Romanus, will revolve around clothing boutique owned by Foyt’s character.

Tying into today’s theme, Jaglom is putting the finishing touches on his last film, Festival in Cannes, a continuation of the filmmaker’s lament of film festivals that began with Venice/Venice in 1992, which features Anouk Aimee, Greta Scacchi, Maximilian Schell and Ron Silver.

Jaglom also announced the tentative June re-release of Monty Python and the Holy Grail through his Rainbow imprint, which will include footage excised from the original 1975 release.

Now, I have spent a lot of time mocking producers who give pretty young actresses production deals before they’re really proven themselves with any kind of staying power. Leave it to Miramax, the bad boys of film, to screw me over by throwing a deal to That 70’s Show fifth seed Ashton Kutcher for Popped, a pitch of unknown premise brought to the studio by neophytes Bryan Moore and Chris Peterson. If nothing else, Popped could be the comeback vehicle Soliel “Punky Brewster” Moon Frye has been looking for.

In better news, both Jim Sheridan and Mike Leigh are in pre-production for their latest projects. Shooting on Sheridan’s new film East of Harlem begins June 1, while Leigh’s secretive untitled project rolls June 11.

Then again, someone is allowing Jan DeBont to direct again. Oscar winning producer Arnold Kopelson has been brainwashed by DeBont into helping to make Hindenberg, an action/suspense/thriller about an American Naval officer and a Leni Riefenstahl-ish German documentary filmmaker set against the backdrop of one of the worst aviation disasters in worldhistory. Marc Moss, who adapted both Kiss The Girls and Along Came A Spider, has been tapped to polish the script by Martin Kunert and Eric Manes.

Fred Durst. Do you really care what the hell he is doingr Well, you don’t but you do. You hope the world would realize his time, like Marilyn Manson’s, has come and gone. You wonder what in the hell a certified cinematic genius like David Fincher sees in this second rate wigger to help him get a film made. So you go do some snooping around to realize not only does this schmuck have something going with Fincher, but has two projects set up with Warner Brothers as well.

Durst better hurry and pick between Nature’s Cure (A group of youths traveling together find their true personalities, fears, hopes and dreams are revealed to each other), Runt (the Fincher project where a high school outsider takes revenge on the students who keep picking on him) or Wannabe (A baseball player whose career is cut short by injury gets involved with the Mob after returning home to Brooklyn) before his career totally disappears.