Film Scouts Diaries

1998 Cannes Film Festival Diaries
Cannes Diary #2: Can We Get a Proofreader Here?

by Lisa Nesselson

A quick sashay down the Croisette will prove that there's nobody, but nobody, in charge of "editing" for tasteful attire, but there IS apparently a copy-editor watching over the main drag after all. The awning that just yesterday welcomed us to the "51 TH FESTIVAL" has been corrected to read "51 ST."

Whoever repaired that glitch is sorely needed in press kit land. International Critics Week kicks off tomorrow with "Torrente: El Brazo Tonto de la Ley" (Torrente: The Dumb Arm of the Law), an inherently offensive but pretty darn funny adventure starring the film's screenwriter and director, Santiago Segura, as a boorish ex-cop who makes Beavis and Butt-head look like models of maturity and propriety. According to a display ad in Variety, the film, which was released not long ago in Spain, is the most successful Spanish film ever. Torrente's wheelchair-bound elderly father is played by Tony Leblanc whom the press kit tells us is "a living legend in the Spanish film world." (It's interesting to note he was born in the Prado Museum where his father worked, but I find it difficult to believe he "was born on 7 May 1992 in Madrid" if, as the production notes note: "In 1945, he made his film debutt."

In Competition tomorrow is the Colombian film "La Vendedora de Rosas" (The Little Rose Seller). Set in contemporary Medellin with a cast of very young street urchins (Is a cat fight between barely adolescent girls technically a kitten fight?), this sad but not overly engaging portrait plays like a glue-sniffing version of "Bugsy Malone."

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