Film Scouts on the Riviera 1999

1999 Cannes Film Festival Diaries
#3, Back on the Croisette

by Richard Schwartz

Film Scouts on the Riviera 1999 is brought to you by:

CANNES, even later evening of May 13 - Jet lag and the nine-hour time difference can't prevent this weary traveler from a quick lap to absorb the scene along the Croisette, the famous strip that runs along the beach and contains all of the major hotels.

Old women walking tiny dogs. Beautiful women walking tiny dogs. Tiny dogs walking women.

If you've ever been to France, you can envision this picture. For as far as the eye can see, there are tiny dogs. And even tinier dog feces.

The second thing one notices along the Croisette are the advertisements - billboards, posters and the like - plastered all over the strip to promote upcoming releases. The prime real estate - the Super Bowl halftime:60 of this event - can be found at the entrance to the Carlton Hotel. This year, Universal has co-opted this top spot to plug "The Mummy," the studio's first hit in a long while, for its European release. As well, Universal has also erected two large television monitors outside the Carlton to show clips of "EdTV," a decent comedy which fizzled in the states but will show out-of-competition at this festival. The Carlton Pier features a billboard for this summer's remake of "The Thomas Crown Affair" with Pierce Brosnan (also present in various Bond posters) while the entrance of the Majestic Hotel stumps for a number of obscure video projects as well as "Joan of Arc" - the Luc Besson version, not the CBS miniseries.

The Palais - the whitewashed bunker-like theatre building at the end of the Croisette - is almost deserted. Still present, however, are a couple of stragglers with camcorders, who probably stopped by in hopes of seeing Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones ("Entrapment" shows tomorrow night) but instead got Israeli director Amos Gitai and the cast of his competition film "Kadosh." That also explains the red carpet and flood lights, illuminating nothing now but some stray candy wrappers and a number of ever-vigilant security officers.

Lots of police. That's because festival security was beefed up yesterday after a bomb was found on a sidewalk and the Croisette was closed down as the bomb squad worked to defuse the explosive.

There's no word yet if Universal claimed responsibility for that bomb, too.

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