Cannes Man

| April 12, 2011

Cannes Man by director Richard Martini is re-released on DVD and Blu-Ray by Cinema Libre Studios for all the wannabe filmmakers. Boasting a cast of film festival goers who flock to the beaches and grand hotels along La Croisette in Cannes, France. It’s a marketplace for hucksters where a good tag line and famous friends can get you backing for a film that’s never been written. This audacious docu-fiction movie shot during the Cannes Film Festival makes you wonder just how movies are sold.
With more than a handful of cameos, Martini manipulates more than a few celebrities with the help of a very persuasive actor Seymour Cassel (Rushmore, The Royal Tennenbaums) playing a fake producer who makes a bet he’s not willing to lose. James Brolin, Lloyd Kaufman, Bryan Singer, and Harvey Weinstein are only some of the celebrities and moguls that get caught in Sy’s ploy to make any schmuck off the street into the talk of the festival. Lerner chooses Frank Rhino (Francesco Quinn), an ambitious airhead cab driver from New York City to be his dummy. The kid enters the picture stumbling down the coastal promenade promoting a film for Troma, and he ends up at the behest of Sy, a supposedly notoriously philandering producer known for swindling financiers out of money he then spends wining and dining celebrities.
Everyone mishears the title film as “Con Man,” a clever bit by director Martini to easily confuse his cameo subjects that the film is an action adventure thriller. The only actors who seem to be in on the spoof are Jim Jarmush and Johnny Depp. Sy breaks into their staged meditation session in a grassy park somewhere. Surrounded by body guards, the actor-director team that created Dead Man (1995) is deep in a trance. They sip absinthe-looking cocktails and smoke cigarettes in between vibrating their vocal chords with yogic sounds.
This is where the film breaks its natural flow and begins to feel like the fictional film it is, but the actors hold it together. Jarmusch acts like the director diva he’s infamous for being. He demands international distribution rights and ancillary profits, which he is known for putting in his contracts with studios to amass interest and profits in markets with a greater appreciation for his avant-guard style. Naturally resistant to the hustling producers, the filmmaking friends get talked into a loose verbal contract for Depp and Jarmusch to direct once they find out Dennis Hopper, one of the original independent film pioneers is interested in the project. This isn’t long before, Sy intentionally asks Hopper himself to direct.
John Malkovich takes Sy’s proposition so seriously you almost feel sorry he’s getting duped. He teeters between demanding the lead and reserving interest until he reads a script. He asks if the film has been written, and Sy continually changes the subject to focus on how Malkovich is perfect for a part he just made up off the cuff. Soon enough Sy has an entire cast of actors holding a mini press conference demonstrating their interest in the project, but no one can figure out what role they agreed to play.
Buzz travels fast and suddenly showbiz people think they found the next Best Picture Oscar winner Frank Rhino. Then as soon as Sy walks away, they scold their agent for not telling them. It’s in this spirit that Cannes Man celebrates the art of the pitch.

About the Author:

Filed in: Video and DVD

Comments are closed.