21 September 2014 | larrys3
A Treat For Movie Buffs
In this HBO Documentary film, filmmaker James Toback (The Gambler, Bugsy, Tyson) and actor Alec Baldwin trek to the Cannes Film Festival, in May of 2012, to try and raise money for their proposed movie. Although, this film may be more geared to film buffs, a moniker I can unabashedly admit to, I thought it offered lots and lots of wit and humor, as well as wonderful insider stories from those in the movie industry.
They meet with distributors, billionaires, heads of movie studios, and film stars such as Ryan Gosling, Jessica Chastain, Berenice Bejo, Diane Kruger, and James Caan. They also talk to some of the real greats in filmmaking, such as Coppola, Polanski, Scorcese, and Bertolucci. I thought almost all these meetings and interviews were remarkably candid and enjoyable.
I might mention one story told by Francis Ford Coppola. After winning 6 Oscars from the "Godfather" movies, he couldn't get financing for his next movie, so in frustration he threw his Oscars out the window and they smashed into smithereens. However, his mother came along, picked up the shattered pieces and took them to the Academy to get replacements, telling them the maid accidentally broke them.
We get to see how the movie industry has changed over the past decades, and it can be quite the sad portrait. Now, it seems unless you're trying to finance a high budget franchise film, your chances of receiving funding for a mid-range movie, even with known stars, is extremely difficult. A lot of the distributors and investors admit that they don't even care about the quality of the script, just in the profit projections from their money people.
Just to mention as the interviews are progressing, photos or film clips of the subjects or persons they're discussing appear briefly on a split screen. My biggest objection to this style was that the clips were not left on screen long enough so I had to use my pause button quite a bit. Also, there are some scenes where strong sexual connotations or language are explicitly used, for those sensitive to that.
All in all, as mentioned this documentary may appeal mostly to film aficionados, I found it quite humorous and interesting from start to finish.