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16.5.04

News from Cannes

If you haven't figured this out yet, I'm a sucker for the Festival de Cannes, which conveniently combines my love of film with my love of France. Since there is so little coverage in the American media (it's apparently much more important to report on American "news" like what happened last night on "American Idol" or "The Swan"), I get most of my information from reading French newspaper Web sites and watching the broadcast of the evening news from France 2.

Other Cannes articles to read:

· Cannes If I Want, by the cinetrix at pullquote, May 11

· Nine Happy Mavens: Cannes Fest Jury Gets Ready to Let the Good Films Roll, by Desson Thomson, May 15, in the Washington Post
The big news this year is not about movies but the protests of the intermittents du spectacle, part-time workers in the performing arts who are opposed to the French government's plans to reduce their entitlements. Last summer, the group's protests disrupted numerous events and totally shut down some of the big summer arts festivals (thanks to David Nishimura at Cronaca for linking to Ionarts on this), so the fear was evident this year when they set their sights on Cannes. The latest report (Intermittents: des centaines de manifestants à Cannes, une échauffourée [Part-time workers: hundreds of demonstrators in Cannes, a scuffle], May 16) in L'Express show that the conflicts between demonstrators and police seem to be escalating (my translation):
The intermittents du spectacle briefly interrupted the Cannes Festival on Saturday, and three people, according to police (five, according to the demonstrators), received minor injuries in an incident, but the main demonstration against the reform of unemployment benefits took place peacefully.

Elsewhere in the evening, journalists, including one from Agence France-Presse, were assaulted by members of the CRS [the Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité, a sort of national police force or national guard] in front of the Cannes police headquarters where a couple scores of part-time arts workers were calling for the release of six of their arrested colleagues. [. . .] Six people were arrested in the late afternoon during a police intervention in a cinema in downtown Cannes that was taken over by some demonstrators and their sympathizers, causing two injuries to the demonstrators (five, according to the demonstrators) and eight injuries to the police, according to the subprefect of Grasse, Claude Serra.
The other big story was the appearance of Michael Moore, in Cannes because his new film Fahrenheit 9/11 is in competition. (Given the state of political relations between France and the United States, I think Moore may have a good chance of winning something.) Walking among the demonstrators with French activist José Bové to enthusiastic applause and approval, Moore said over a loudspeaker, "Work is a right. A living wage is a human right." (There are good pictures in the article linked above.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dr. Praecentor,
I am loving the coverage from Cannes...yes, you are right, very little coverage here. So little that when a friend said they were heading out for the film festival I replied, "What film festival?" I also agree that Michael Moore will most likely get a unanimous positive response over Fahrenheit 9/11 based on the current political climate...probably even before they see it (rather ironic based on his recent criticism of it being judged negatively before even being seen. I don't think the prospect of american censorship could be more fully realized in spectacle than Disney avoiding release based on White House fall-out and potential tax repurcusions. Perfect. I don't know if you've read but it looks as though it may be the final straw for ol' Harvey and Bob over at Mirimax as they look to either buy the company or pull up stakes and start anew under a new name. (Mirimax is such a brand name it would be wierd to think it a drained Mouse-house knock-off in coming years...but so be it.) I just hope this doesn't affect the film 'Now You Know' they plan to release this summer that I did a few years back but I highly doubt it would as the deal is already signed.
As for your comments about Tarantino learning french (along with other presenters at Cannes)you might want to rethink that when you consider the title for Reservoir Dogs was bizarrely derived from the title 'Au revoir les enfants' when he was working at a video store. 'Vive le Cinema!' may be the best we can hope for.
-T