Film Scouts Diaries

1998 Sundance Film Festival Diaries
Life Imitates Art, Art Shrugs It Off (January 22)

by Richard Schwartz

PARK CITY, Jan. 22 - David Mamet could only smile.

Curiously gazing at the front page of the Los Angeles Times, the "Wag the Dog" screenwriter offered no comment. But you sure knew what was going through his head.

A president in hot water for an alleged sexual relationship with a young girl. And the potential for further conflict with Iraq.

Hey, get Bob Evans on the phone pronto. You wanna see life imitate art?

Mamet, in town to promote his festival entry "The Spanish Prisoner," was alone in his taciturn curiosity. At the festival headquarters in the Shadow Ridge Resort, the television flickered with images of the latest Clinton scandal. Most people barely blinked.

Even with CNN assigning usual "Showbiz Today" entertainment anchor Jim Moret to the evening news, the industry types barely nodded. Their attention was instead focused on the front page of the glossy trades, as they mulled over the latest foreign distribution deal, the syndication sales at NATPE and the Academy Award frontrunners.

So what if Clinton's actions may result in a "constitutional crisis," as the local Salt Lake City newscast called it? And, for that matter, so what if one of the most notorious killers ever pleaded guilty today, or if the Pope and the last remaining Communist pillar participated in an historic meeting this afternoon? Hey, *Ving Rhames gave Jack Lemmon his Golden Globe,* for crissakes!

Excepting Mamet and documentary filmmaker Michael Moore (who called for the dissolution of the Democratic Party before his "The Big One" screening Thursday night), most of these cellular-toting Hollywood people seem to live in their own separate world with its own separate news.

Well, I did hear one person acknowledge the Clinton scandal in passing. His words: "You think Universal will move up the release date of 'Primary Colors?'"

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