The International Film Festival is still ''la grande dame'' of movie fests

By Jessica Shaw
Updated May 09, 1997 at 04:00 AM EDT

Every burg from Sundance to Venice to Toronto has tried to copy its act, but the Cannes International Film Festival, which opens May 7, is still la grande dame of movie fests, and this year it celebrates its 50th anniversary. So what’s the pre-buzz for this golden edition of Hollywood a la Croisette?

· Copping Out A number of Cannes-doers are wondering what happened to Copland, Miramax’s much-hyped film starring Sylvester Stallone, Robert De Niro, and Harvey Keitel. The gritty drama, which was supposed to follow in the illustrious indie tradition of Pulp Fiction and Trainspotting, had been a strong contender for the Palme d’Or. But surprisingly Miramax didn’t enter Copland in the festival. ”It was completely accepted into competition,” says a studio spokeswoman, ”but the score wasn’t finished, and we just were not going to make it on time.”

· Brave New World Among the first-time directors who will premiere their work at Cannes are Gary Oldman (who will present Nil by Mouth, an autobiographical drama he wrote and directed about a man growing up in working-class London) and Johnny Depp (who will unveil The Brave, about an unemployed father who agrees to star in a snuff film). Depp’s directorial debut gets extra credit for starring Marlon Brando, who agreed to play a morbid filmmaker as a favor to his Don Juan DeMarco costar.

· The Berlitz Award To celebrate the European premiere of Beavis and Butt-head Do America, MTV will throw a festival bash May 10. And if you think the dysfunctional duo seems a little out of place at such a swank industry conclave, consider the film’s new Euro tag line, which will be emblazoned on a billboard in Cannes: ”Heh-heh, you said, Oui oui.”