Film Scouts Diaries

1996 Cannes Film Festival Diaries
Diary #5: Bonsoir, Jude!

by Leslie Rigoulot

May 14, 1996

Tia Carrera was at the Noga Hilton looking tres elegant in her black evening gown. She told me that she wasn't at Cannes to promote a film but to accompany her husband and just have fun. But somehow I have the feeling that scouting projects and networking may have been on her agenda as well. No one comes to Cannes for fun except the civilians hoping to get a photo or two of a real movie star.

Tia was headed for the Carlton Hotel so I decided to find out who else was headed there before I made the late screening of "Jude". Well, he wasn't headed into the Carlton. He was headed out, and the crowd went wild as Hollywood legend Tony Curtis walked out of the Carlton's grand entrance. Looking dapper in a suit and white cowboy hat, Curtis seemed to drink in the adoration of the civilians who called out to him. He held on to the limo as it backed out of the circular driveway, taking time for those who wanted photos. It was his hands that caught my attention. They were the hands of an old man, but somehow Tony would always be the young man in "Some Like It Hot". In his face, he still has the look of a man who never took Hollywood or life too seriously.

Off I go into the very serious "Jude" in the Noga Hilton theater which simply can't compare to the two sumptuous theaters in the Palais. It isn't in competition, and yet the director and primary cast are here to witness its debut. Liam Cunningham is the schoolmaster who inspires Jude (Christopher Eccelston) to aspire to university at Christminster. And Kate Winslet is one of the women who seems to stand between him and what would appear to be his destiny. The acting is superb in this adaptation of Thomas Hardy's "Jude the Obscure".

Hardy is an extreme pessimist, and his characters are nearly always punished for trying to improve their lot in life. So "Jude" becomes a soap opera of the nihilist stripe. Looking on the bright side, I got a great photo of Winslet, heir apparent to Emma Thompson, as the thinking man's sex symbol. I'm sure Hardy would not approve of me in the least.

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