Film Scouts Diaries

1996 Cannes Film Festival Diaries
Diary #4 - May 9, D-Day

by Henri Béhar

May 9, 1996

CANNES -- *Finalement!* Opening night's movie--Patrice Lecomte's "Ridicule"--is screened for the press. A period piece, an incisive satire on the social importance of appearances, clothes, and *bons mots*, at the King's court. Whether you're a peasant, an aristocrat or a priest, be gorgeous, be witty, dress up, or you're DEAD. Sounds like Beverly Hills.

At the press conference, actress Fanny Ardant tries her damned best to explain to a Belgian journalist how, *mais oui*, the 18th Century in France was, in a way, a golden age for feminism. She's so charming she's almost convincing.

"Francis" (read: Coppola) has been spotted on the Croisette. Obviously, he's made it just in time for the gala presentation of Lecomte's film (in competition).

Garb-wise, the Croisette's gone schizo. Black ties, rhinestones and high heels (the gala crowd) cross paths with jeans and sneakers (the press screening lot, on their way to tomorrow's films). The two clans deliberately ignore each other. The "penguins" go to the Official Dinner (yawn!), the rest gathers right across the street from the Palais, at the Majestic bar, which is quickly turning into *the* watering hole-cum-rendezvous point.

Question: What is John Malkovich doing in town? And Dustin Hoffman? Neither of them has a film in competition. What gives?

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