While the handful of movies in competition for the coveted Palme d'Or might get most of the press at Cannes, it's the festival's less glamorous but utterly huge marketplace -- "Le Marche du Film" -- that causes producers and film buyers to flock to the South of France every May. And this year, it's even getting its own movie.
Last year at the marketplace, the Weinstein Company snapped up a small, crowd-pleasing French flick called "The Artist" and turned it into a Best Picture Oscar winner. Hoping for a repeat this year, the Weinsteins have been buying movies left and right, including the feel-good comedy "The Sapphires"; another called "Haute Cuisine," about the personal chef of former French Prime Minister Francois Mitterand; and "Code Name: Geronimo," a doc about the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden.
Director James Toback and "30 Rock" star Alec Baldwin are even making a movie about the Marche. Called "Seduced and Abandoned," the film documents their efforts to land funding for another, probably fictional movie. Got that?
"We wanted to do a documentary that kind of took a snapshot of the way the movie business is now," Baldwin said to the Associated Press. "These festivals and markets are really cool backdrops for that kind of thing, and this is the most famous one of them all."
Toback and Baldwin managed to line up some A-list interviewees for the movie, including Roman Polanski, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, and Nicole Kidman. The one person that flat-out refused to participate was Harvey Weinstein, prompting the notoriously hot-tempered Baldwin to publicly call the producer a "douchebag."
While a casual walk down Coisette Boulevard reveals cafes and cocktail parties brimming with producers and movie buyers looking to make a deal, the physical presence of the Marche du Film takes up several floors of the Palais, the massive beachside nerve center of the festival. There you can spend hours trolling from one booth to the next as vendors hawk high-end art films -- like the mesmerizing Lithuanian flick "Vanishing Waves" by Kristina Buozyte -- right next to movies with decidedly more low-brow sensibilities, like "Zombie Ass: Toilet of the Dead." Harvey Weinstein has not, as of this writing, picked up the latter title.
The Cannes Film Festival continues through May 27.