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Cannes Film Festival: On the Scene

Matt Damon, Oliver Stone, Harvey Weinstein, and a host of other filmmakers descend on the French film festival for another year

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Cannes has been a festival of disconnects. Where else would you find new work from legends like Jean-Luc Godard as well as Dancing Ninja starring David Hasselhoff? So it makes sense that this year’s 12-day confab on the French Riviera kicked off with Robin Hood, an action film that vilifies the French for 140 minutes. ”When we were at the hotel, there was a group of people outside saying, ‘We can’t wait to see it!”’ costar Scott Grimes says at the film’s after-party. ”I’m like, ‘But this movie depicts a war between England and France.’ And they were like, ‘We’ve given that up! We’re allies now!”’

After opening night, festivalgoers turned their attention to the world’s economic crises, thanks to the Matt Damon-narrated documentary Inside Job and Oliver Stone’s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. ”To me, the timing couldn’t be more perfect,” says Wall Street‘s Josh Brolin. But the film’s cautionary message was delivered with typically over-the-top Cannes fanfare. ”When we pulled up from the airport, Michael [Douglas] and Shia [LaBeouf]’s faces were on our hotel, like 20 feet tall,” marvels fellow costar Carey Mulligan.

Another sign of economic woes: a paucity of deals for U.S. distributors. ”This is a year of real caution — if you buy a film, you have to buy it for the right price,” says Sony Pictures Classics co-president Michael Barker, who at press time was said to be circling Mike Leigh’s acclaimed North London-set drama Another Year. ”Because if you buy it for higher, it can put you out of business.”

Otherwise, most of the industry talk on the Croisette centered on rumors that Harvey and Bob Weinstein would announce a pact with Disney to buy back their former company, Miramax. At the posh Vanity Fair party at the Hotel du Cap, Harvey Weinstein was overheard joking to a gaggle of former Miramax staffers, ”If we get it back, maybe you all could have your old jobs again.” In the meantime, Hollywood types who are still gainfully employed rejoice that a trip to Cannes actually counts as work.

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