PRINT September 1997


the fiftieth Cannes Film Festival

WEEKS BEFORE THE LAUNCH of the fiftieth Cannes Film Festival, the competition lineup was eliciting groans. By midfest, finding a film that generated passionate support was like securing a parking space on the Croisette, Cannes’ waterfront main drag. Critical dissent was running unusually high—even for Cannes, where one buff’s noir is often another’s bête. Whereas one critic, for example, proclaimed Curtis Hanson’s L. A. Confidential “a disaster,” another saw it as “the bright spot of the competition.” Decisive trends were visible from the start. Many hoped a spate of literary adaptations, including L. A. Confidential, Atom Egoyan’s The Sweet Hereafter, Ang Lee’s The Ice Storm, and Francesco Rosi’s The Truce, might offer fresh interpretations of fictional works by key authors such as James Ellroy, Russell Banks, Rick Moody, and Primo Levi—these promises, however, were left largely unfulfilled.

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