Film Scouts Diaries

1998 Cannes Film Festival Diaries
Cannes Diary #2: Sunday in the Palais with Ron

by Cari Beauchamp

The most striking thing about the 51st Cannes Film Festival is that the attendance has been cut in half compared to last year. I don't mean in terms of films or critics or distributors or buyers and sellers. Just in terms of human mass, the population has been reduced by 50 percent. Last year's anniversary hoopla brought crowds of people who felt they had to come to Cannes, but once here, weren't sure what they were supposed to do. There were bodies everywhere, stopping and starting or just turning around. Today I found myself thinking I that on the weekend there would be more people, but then I realized it was the weekend. Streets are passable, the beaches are full but not packed and theaters half empty.

I arrived at 3:30 on the dot at one of the Palais' small theaters to see a film that had caught my eye on the schedule -- A Merry War aka Keep the Aspidistra Flying. I assumed I wouldn't be able to get in, but they waved me straight through and I made it an even dozen people in the audience. Amazing.

One of the joys of Cannes is the plethora of choices -- sometimes you see what you think you should and other times go where you heart takes you. That's just what I did Sunday night when I bypassed the Danish film in competition to see Bull Durham on the big screen.

Once again, the theater was again only about half full and there was Medavoy giving an introduction -- looking around as if he was stalling for time and indeed he was -- the car that was supposed to pick up Ron Shelton, who wrote and directed the film, had returned empty. As soon as the film started, Shelton slipped into the seat in front of me, but what happened and how it got there remained a mystery because I was soon basking in the joy of walking into the baseball stadium with Susan Sarandon.

Bull Durham is a film I discovered only after it was on video. 20 minutes into my first viewing, I found myself getting very mad at my friends -- why had none of them had told me about this little gem? Annie Savoy is one of the great female characters of all time -- ok, so some might call her an intellectual slut, but I don't see it that way. As she explains it, she is -- during each baseball season -- monogamous. I know I am sucker for a woman who loves baseball and I bask in the glory of her attitude and her great lines (personal favorite: "Honey, we all deserve to wear white." Susan Sarandon plays Annie with all her strength and vulnerability right there on the surface.

I caught several little details that a dozen viewings on video had not allowed me to see. And then of course there are the set ups such as Tim Robbins being hopeless with her garters and Kevin Costner knowing EXACTLY what to do -- I might get irked at being so easily seduced by such a scene, but before my ire can build, the score comes full force with yet another personal favorite, "Sixty Minute Man."

So the credits role in the Palais and the women leaving the theater give each other knowing smiles, so pleased to be reminded that there are men who know precisely what they want. I thanked Medavoy who introduced to me to Shelton, but we were quickly interrupted by one of Medavoy's current producing partners, but at least he asked a question I wanted to know the answer to.

"Did you pick the music?"


"Even Sixty Second Man?"

Shelton and I looked at each other -- not quite believing what we had just heard. I couldn't help myself and besides it seemed better coming from me than from Shelton.

"It's Sixty MINUTE Man."

The partner still didn't get it. And he's the one currently producing movies today. Thank goodness we have these retrospectives.

Previous Installment | Next Installment

Back to Cannes Film Festival Diaries

Look for Search Tips

Copyright 1994-2008 Film Scouts LLC
Created, produced, and published by Film Scouts LLC
Film Scouts® is a registered trademark of Film Scouts LLC
All rights reserved.

Suggestions? Comments? Fill out our Feedback Form.