Everything from Moulin Rouge to the British philistines appear in this week's edition of Screen International (May 4-10), the leading authority on the international film business:
ON THE GRAPEVINE
CANNES BUZZ Screen correspondents search from Pusan to Buenos Aires for the films that are tipped to be favourites in the art-houses around the globe in the year to come and a few that may even burst into the multiplexes. These are the titles generating good word of mouth ahead of Cannes, and most likely to be picked up by the world's leading independent distributors.
STRIKE CASTS SPELL OVER CANNES DEALS
NEWS Unveiling the Cannes line-up last month, president Gilles Jacob chose words such 'theatre of the absurd', 'war' and 'madness' to describe some of the themes behinds the films. The choice of words are fitting for this year's market. With the shadow of an actors' and writers' strike hanging over the event, many sales companies and buyers believe it's going to be a surreal, uphill battle to do business at the Cannes market.
IFC FILMS RAISES STANDARD AT CANNES
EXECUTIVE SUITE IFC Films' Bob Berney, who spearheaded the US release of the current hit Memento for Newmarket Films, explains how the new US distribution outfit works in synergy with parent cable channel Independent Film Channel, what benefits his company can offer filmmakers and their films, and sets out his strategy for Cannes.
RED KEN REFUSES TO BE COLONISED BY HOLLYWOOD
CLOSE UP It is ironic that while Ken Loach was honoured with an invitation to serve as godfather to Critics' Week in Cannes, not a single British film was deemed fit to grace any section in the festival. But the director has always been a little out of synch with the rest of the British film industry. Now in his fifth decade of film-making, Loach is the antithesis of the UK's new breed of commercially-minded directors gunning for Hollywood: while Bridget Jones diet tips fill the UK press, Loach is preparing to shoot a political election broadcast for the UK's Socialist Alliance party.
THE PHILISTINE STATE
INDUSTRY OPINION Once head of production at the British Film Institute, and then its head of research, Colin MacCabe left the BFI in 1998. Now an academic and a producer - his latest documentary film The Spectre Of Hope is about to show on BBC2 and HBO/Cinemax - MacCabe feels it's time to expose the BFI's "destruction" in recent years and the repercussions this has for British cinema.
ALL THAT GLITTERS
FOCUS While the launch of Cannes by Moulin Rouge this week places Australian film-making in the limelight, the fate of most Australian film-makers is less glamorous. Moulin Rouge producer Martin Brown was able to command a budget of $50m thanks to 20th Century Fox but in the 12 months to June 2000 not a single Australian producer could raise a budget in excess of £3.1m for a film.
THE ROAR OF THE HIDDEN TIGER
COMPANY FOCUS It took nearly a decade for the world to realise that Asia had single-handedly pulled film-making out of its pre-millennial funk and into the new century. With critical acclaim coming long before the confirmation via box office breakthroughs, Asian cinema was just waiting for the moment to unleash its power. Sensing this sea change has also paid off for those who got in early: 10 years of support for Asian films has helped international sales company Fortissimo Film Sales grow into an arthouse empire with four films in Official Selection at Cannes this year.
MEDIEVAL JOUSTING AS ROCK OPERA
REVIEW Part action-adventure, part romance, part road trip, and not particularly satisfying on any of these levels, Brian Helgeland's A Knight's Tale is an intentionally anachronistic yarn in which medieval knights test their tournament jousting skills to the tunes of rock music by Queen, Randy Bachman and David Bowie. Australian actor Heath Ledger, who was so impressive as Mel Gibson's son in The Patriot, stars as a commoner who rises to knighthood to become the Michael Jordan of the medieval joust.