Friday, May 21, 2004

Cannes Coverage Exclusive from George the cyclist –
Day Nine

I was interviewed yesterday by Patrick McGavin for a feature he's writing for The Chicago Reader, but it had nothing to do with the several movie websites, including Daily, that have been picking up my comments and quoting me as "George the cyclist" along side A.O. Scott of the New York Times and J. Hoberman of the Village Voice and other such heavyweights.

Patrick has been attending this festival, and many others around the world, for years, and has noticed that Cannes, more than any other festival, seems to attract people of an obsessive nature. He thinks that bicycling 800 miles to watch movies all day for two weeks puts me in that category, along with all the maniacal wheelers-and-dealers that pervade this place trying to buy and sell and distribute and get movies made. I've luckily been sheltered from such ilk by sticking to the safe and serene world of the big dark rooms with the dancing images.

Movies may not be the true nature of what's going on here, but I don't mind my ignorant bliss. As with Godard's offering to this year's festival, Notre Musique, which is divided into Hell, Purgatory and Heaven, the Heaven segment of his movie and the Heaven part of the Film Festival - its movies - are just the tip and the smallest part of it.

The market screening of Notre Musique at the Star Theatre wasn't even a quarter full. It was less obtuse than the usual Godard fare, but just as pedantic. It opened with his version of Hell, one clip after another of battle scenes from the world of cinema. Purgatory was original footage of his own, which included himself and an assortment of characters including a couple of Native Americans haranguing an old guy stooped over a desk. Another character asks:
- Why haven't revolutions been started by the most humane people.
- Because they start libraries.
Heaven was some nature footage that ended after barely five minutes.

Then it was another film about teen-aged girls, or at least a couple of 20-year olds that were teen-agers at heart, in Venus and Fleur by Emmanuel Mouret of France. Venus is a flighty, free-spirited, quite attractive Russian girl and Fleur a repressed, dour, but intelligent, French girl. They both have unfulfilled longings, but they are not in the desperate straits all the other teen-aged girls who have had their traumas portrayed here. They are boy crazy and can't seem to attract any despite flinging themselves at boys on the beach, contrary to expectations and reality. Despite begging reality, this was entertaining and not without a message.

Next: Clean by Olivier Assayas.