No Cannes Do This Year; the Americans Are Missing from Next Month's Film Festival Line-Up - and So Are the Brits

By Walker, Alexander | The Evening Standard (London, England), April 24, 2003 | Go to article overview

No Cannes Do This Year; the Americans Are Missing from Next Month's Film Festival Line-Up - and So Are the Brits


Walker, Alexander, The Evening Standard (London, England)


Byline: ALEXANDER WALKER

TWO old foes, ideological enemies for more than 20 years, look set to clash at the Cannes Film Festival next month. Under the extruded plastic roof of the Film Council's British Pavilion on the Croisette seafront is Council chairman and film director Alan Parker. Barely 100 metres away at the Palais des Festivals, film director Peter Greenaway will be supporting his new movie, The Tulse Luper Suitcases: Part One, The Maob Story.

"If Peter Greenaway makes another film, I shall emigrate," Parker thundered in the 1970s. A Philistine, and proud of it, he was challenging what he perceived to be the "culture ghetto" of the then British film industry.

Well, Greenaway plugged on, making art-house movies such as The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover, with the aid of a Dutch producer and budgets collected in a hat from half a dozen countries. Parker, too, was as good as his word. Since Pink Floyd: The Wall, in 1982, the Film Council's supremo has made all his films in America or for Hollywood studios that fund his company.

Greenaway's reputation still stands high in art-house circles; in the commercial market, however, Parker's seems in eclipse, with two poorly received films in a row, Angela's Ashes and The Life of David Gale.

Chances are not good that the two filmmakers shall meet on 14 May, when the 56th Cannes Film Festival opens.

Despite more than pound sterling300 million of National Lottery money being spent since 1995 on trying to create a " sustainable" British film industry, able to stand alone and apart from Hollywood, Britain this year has only Greenaway representing us in the Official Competition for the Palme d'Or. "Other British films submitted simply weren't good enough," says one French insider.

Consolation of a kind is offered by the Festival's closing-night screening of one world famous British star and his film. …

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