Film Scouts Diaries

1997 Cannes Film Festival Diaries
May 15: Getting to the Good Part

by David Sterritt

Cannes, May 15, 1997--

The festival finally escaped its doldrums yesterday, which was as interesting and engrossing as last Saturday--featuring the Johnny Depp and Wim Wenders fiascos--was dull and depressing.

Quick notes on some of the films I've caught: "In the Company of Men," by Neil Labute, is too tricky for its own good, but nicely skewers the mentality of male yuppies, who deserve all the skewering they can get. "The Forbidden Woman," by Philippe Harrel, is a clever but minor exercise that tells its story of a love affair entirely through the eyes of its adulterous male character, whose off-screen voice is supplied by the filmmaker himself. "Mrs Brown," by John Madden, is a fine example of "Masterpiece Theater" moviemaking at its dignified best, telling the fetchingly filmed tale of Queen Victoria and the bearded boyfriend who made her life more comfortable after her royal husband's death. (American journalists take note--this is English territory, so leave the period off the "Mrs" in the title. No punctuation please, we're British.) Finally, the long-awaited "The Truce," by the respected Francesco Rosi, is ponderous and pretentious, anchoring its story (based on Primo Levi's memoir) in the highly debatable assumption that we don't already know World War II and the Holocaust were very bad events that made a lot of people very unhappy. John Turturro's earnest acting isn't nearly enough to outweigh this condescending premise and its sadly clunky execution by Rosi et al.

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