Film Scouts Buzz

1998 Cannes Film Festival Buzz
Inventory D'Or

by Richard Schwartz

CANNES, May 21 - With only a few days remaining before the close of the 51st Cannes Film Festival, it's time to take an inventory of the competition favorites. Because there's not one single film jumping ahead of the pack, it's again difficult to speculate on a winner. Reading the trades and newspapers offers a general indication, but there's no telling how the jury will vote. Especially a jury featuring French rapper MC Solaar.

"The General." Why it could win - strong performance by Brendan Gleeson, historical nod to writer/director/producer John Boorman, a strong black-and-white Irish drama that's not about revolutionaries, for a change, and is rather apolitical. Why it won't win - the film is apolotical and Cannes likes to make political statements (as they did with last year's Palme), film a bit long and a bit graphic, at times.

"My Name is Joe." Why it could win - screened early and built momentum, Loach is a Cannes fest fave. Why it won't win - along with other films, might be too continental and Cannes of recent vintage favors exotica (again, see last year's selections of Japanese and Iranian films, also Kustirica pictures).

"Corazon Illuminado." Why it could win - a bit more exotic, fortuitous closing spot, Hector Babenco's track record. Why it won't win - don't know, it hasn't yet screened.

"La Vie Revee des Anges." Why it could win -those who like it love it. Why it won't win - those who don't consider it mediocre fare at best.

"Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas." Why it could win - jury is young, film is controversial and over-the-top (and some think very well done). Why it won't win - film is controversial and over-the-top (and some think very lousy).

"Velvet Goldmine." Why it could win - crossover "homer" appeal with American director, British producer, very French ideas. Rock-and-roll and a potential commercial success. Why it won't win - too much rock-and-roll, not enough story.

However, the Palme D'Or winner will most likely go to a film not listed here. Go figure.

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