But George Clooney, Renée Zellweger, and Penélope Cruz increase the festival's star quotient

By Rebecca Ascher-Walsh
Updated May 14, 2000 at 04:00 AM EDT
Eric Robert/Corbis Sygma

This weekend, it became clear there are two different festivals going on. One, which the acquisitions people are at, is a free vacation to the South of France, filled with time at the pool and drinks at the Hotel Du Cap. Nothing to see, nothing to buy, nothing selling. The other, which is being attended by reporters, critics, and attention-seeking actors, is nonstop nonstopping.

Friday night, the weekend was kicked off with a Universal party which George Clooney stopped by to visit, surrounded by the hunks of meat the festival provides as body guards. He was more intent on trying to make it to the bar for a drink than schmoozing, but he added the star wattage everyone was craving.

And so the craziness began — a party for Neil Labute’s ”Nurse Betty” didn’t start until 12:30 a.m., which meant by the time Greg Kinnear, Renée Zellweger, and Chris Rock had been spotted, approached, and interviewed, it was 2:30 a.m. Then, up at 7 a.m. Saturday to get to the early morning screening of the Coen Brothers’ new flick, ”O Brother, Where Art Thou?” which stars George Clooney. I was in such a coma I was unsure whether my eyes were rolling back into my head because I was bored or just exhausted, but an informal poll confirms that it’s ”disappointing” — i.e., beautifully shot, but d-u-l-l.

Even worse, the film has a constantly playing soundtrack of country yodeling from the Depression which pretty much made me want to scratch my aforementioned rolling eyes out. Then it was off to talk to the stupidly beautiful Penélope Cruz about her flick, ”Woman on Top,” which is receiving lovely attention, then another party, again beginning late, late, late, for the ”O Brother, Where Art Thou?” premiere.

It was held poolside at a gorgeous house up in the hills; again, spotted George Clooney at the bar, while the Coen brothers lounged, Moroccan style, on pillows on the porch. And again, I didn’t see my bed until 2:30 a.m., which meant that two wake up calls later, I slept right through the early screening of ”The Golden Bowl,” which is unfortunate, since I have to go to an ”intimate” dinner for 150 people this evening and talk to Uma Thurman, Nick Nolte, and Merchant and Ivory about the film. Must run off and get Cliff notes so I can remember the book better.

Now, going to a screening of ”Famous,” Mira Sorvino’s new flick, then running home to change for ”Golden Bowl.” I’m beginning to think that working in acquisitions is what it’s all about….