Film Scouts Diaries

1996 Cannes Film Festival Diaries
Diary #6: Three Versions of Beauty & the Beast

by Leslie Rigoulot

May 15, 1996

1. Harvey Weinstein, the Mac Daddy of Miramax was at the American Pavilion watching NBA Game 4 with Spike Lee. But the crowd thinned out as the game went until 2:30 am. With screenings beginning at 8:30 am, only the most hardy souls or those planning to sleep in hung on for the final buzzer.

2. "Trainspotting" is the special screening of the day, which means it didn't qualify for competition but someone must think it is pretty unique. Well, actually unique is a very good word for this offbeat look at the alienated, disaffected group of young men in Edinburgh. Oh come on, let's face it, these are a bunch of wacked out kids, and occasionally the whip smart script and the timing of Ewan McGregor as Mark Renton redeem this mess. But not often enough. Ewan and director Danny Boyle are in town to promote "Trainspotting", but don't offer any real insight into these strange men.

3. On the other hand, Lars Von Trier has admitted that Cannes frightens him. So the Great Dane chose to stay in Denmark, while his "Breaking the Waves" faces competition. He has said that he has taken a basically cheesy story and given it over to great actors. Emily Watson portrays Bess, a naive girl who marries the worldly Jan (Stellan Skarsgard). All is well until he is paralyzed in an accident and asks her to take a lover. Yes, it does sound like an episode of "All My Children", but Von Trier's camera work sets it apart. Emily Watson tells us that scenes were barely rehearsed and camera angles rarely planned. The result somehow achieves Von Trier's hopes of elevating the story line.

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