Foreign film coin for Ireland
The Irish Film Board has entered into a series of co-productions with Austria, France, Slovakia and the UK. “It’s a question of co-produce or die,” chief executive Simon Perry said in Cannes. “Our partners in Europe will be investing in Irish film. We are doing films from elsewhere because I feel that is how we can get more Irish films made. We can develop these relationships and alliances based on reciprocity. These relationships are a lifeblood for us.”
The Austrian co-production, Das Vaterspiel, directed by Michael Glawogger, deals with a man developing a computer game in which players have to kill their fathers. The other IFB co-productions include Slovak director Mira Fornayova’s Foxes; French director Agnes Merlet’s psychological drama Dorothy Mills; and Rupert Wyatt’s British thriller The Escapist, which has finished shooting and stars Joseph Fiennes and Brian Cox.
Polanski rips Cannes hack work
Press conferences at the major international film festivals are generally waffle-dominated non-events, although convenient for the many journalists content to let other people ask the banal questions and later to write them up as the most intimate of one-to-one encounters. But there was a rare flurry of excitement at this week’s Cannes press conference with many of the 35 directors who contributed threeminute segments to Chacun Son Cinéma, the omnibus movie the festival commissioned to mark its 60th anniversary.
Roman Polanski, a Palme d’Or winner in 2002 for The Pianist, stormed out in frustration at the “empty questions” from the media. “It’s a shame to have such poor questions,” he lamented before heading to the exit. “I think it’s really the computer which has brought you down to this level. You’re no longer interested in what’s going on in the cinema. Frankly, let’s all go and have lunch.” Polanski failed to turn up at the press lunch after the conference.
There were more high-profile directors on the red carpet for this week’s Cannes premiere of Chacun Son Cinéma than at any time in the festival’s history. Almost all of the directors contributing to the film were present, but conspicuously absent was Lars von Trier, who beats a critic to death – during a screening of his own dire Manderlay – in his segment of the film.
There was also much talk about The Deer Hunter director Michael Cimino (left), who, as one trade paper
put it, “was virtually unrecognisable from his former self”.
You’ve seen it all before
Who says there’s no originality in the film industry anymore? Among the imaginative new productions announced at Cannes in the past week have been remakes of The Long Good Friday, transposing the story from London to Miami; an English-language reworking of Dario Argento’s stylish 1977 horror movie, Suspiria; a new treatment of the 1957 hit, Sissi, which starred Romy Schneider as the eponymous young empress of Austria and queen of Hungary; and Robert Rodriguez’s new treatment of Barbarella, the campy 1968 romp starring Jane Fonda as a futuristic mercenary.
From Hobbit to Stooge
The most unlikely casting announcement at Cannes has to be that Elijah Wood has been signed to play Iggy Pop in The Passenger, which follows the gaunt rocker’s early years with The Stooges. Maybe it’s the Frodo factor, but I couldn’t buy Wood as a football hooligan in Green Street, and he seems even less plausible as Mr Pop. Then again, he is an actor. Iggy has reportedly “given his blessing” to The Passenger, which is expected to be ready for screening at a cinema near you in summer 2008.
Hell is a French Scorsese rip-off
With so many movies competing for audiences around the clock, the various film trade papers available free here early every day have teams of reviewers whose opening paragraphs can deter audiences as easily as they can encourage them. Arguably the most damning of them all was Peter Brunette’s review of Bruno Merle’s French film Heroes, which borrows liberally – and openly – from Martin Scorsese’s The King of Comedy in its tale of a failed comic who kidnaps an ageing rock star.
Brunette’s review for Screen Daily begins: “Imagine a raving lunatic screaming at you virtually non-stop for two hours, six inches from your face, and you will begin to get an idea of what it is like to watch Heroes.”
You’ve done something different with your hair, Michael . . .