Film Scouts Diaries

1996 Cannes Film Festival Diaries
On the Neuropsychodynamics of Festival Life Forms, Part IV

by Dr. R. Flickheimer, PhD.

May 11, 1996

Ah, sweet sleep. After surviving last night's encounter with the predatory Italian twins, Maryline and Michele, I was able to catch a solid six hours. Awake to the crooning of a Mel Torme imitator, rendered in Franglish, accompanied on the synthesized accordion, from the banks of the ever-peaceful rue Meynadier below. And I thought New York had a few unnecessary sound effects, having habituated to the sound of 5 am delivery trucks on Greenwich Street, the perpetual car alarms of 110th Street, even the truck drone of the Clearview Expressway, and the inimitable flight path to La Guardia. Who could be disturbed now by avant garde Riviera chanteurs?

Resonating to this acoustic motive force, I was driven to a gambole on the Croisette, which immediately upped the ante in paraniod fantasy-land; the first apparition was an obvious symbolic transformation of "Maryline and Michele" - a giant, demented M&M impersonator (melts in your mouth, not in your hand?), careening, staggering, and blocking my path. While this may have fooled the camera crews, I've read enough Thomas Pynchon novels to understand that this was no accident. So these creatures disguise themselves as candy during the daylight? I cleverly fled to the beach, anticipating that the M&M would not be able to maintain traction, I was safe at last. Further reassuring - only a few hundred footsteps further along - a small grove of Dole Pineapple girls (thank goodness for Festival sponsors) waved delicately in the breeze. It is now transparent that many life forms (perhaps five percent of the population?) of the Riviera appear by day as foodstuffs, edible commodities, potentially threatening or comforting snacks, depending on your state of mind. Hard to believe that Dustin Hoffman thought the scene was overly commercialized.

Followup on Q: the big *deal* is palpable. I suggested that she wait for Bill Gates, but she has other plans, which are now progressing rapidly (sorry, still bound by the confidentiality agreement, which I signed without reading). Still somewhat disturbed by the initial exam for finger agnosia, which confirmed that she has all four symptoms of the Gerstmann syndrome, she demanded a retest. I agreed, given concerns that the prior investigation might have been hampered by her ingestion of Chianti, and attempted to minimize the deficit, since her bodyguard was watching, and I did not care to have my kneecaps lowered as payment for services rendered. I explained again that these cognitive peculiarities are accompanied by unique forms of genius. Examinations of her staff followed. I estimate now that 75 percent of the film industry has congenital dysplasia (altered development) of the left inferior parietal lobe, given the problems with spelling, illegible handwriting, right-left confusion, poor basic math skills (although there seems to be a preserved capacity for calculating a "daily rate"). The skills usually mediated by the left hemisphere in these subjects appear to be more widely distributed. Tomorrow I'll try more of the pure visuospatial tests.

The constant flow of neuropsychodiagnostic consultations was beginning to fatigue me. I made plans to escape the fray. The Michelin Guide was an oasis of sanity - and the restaurant, Moulins de Mougins (dropped in recent years from three to two stars, but who's counting?), was only 15 minutes away. Eloping to the hills, there was time for a tour of the Chapel of Notre Dame de Vie. Rabbits hopped contentedly into the brush, a flock of kites rushed from the eaves - and from the portico of the Chapel, the sunset panorama over Mougins seemed so far away from the Croisette. Only the echoes of dogs, communally barking their residual concerns of the day over the canyons between the petite chateaux, broke the whisper of the breezes through the poplars lining cobbled paths. Descending to Moulins de Mougins, a converted 16th century oil mill, and escorted to lounge by a contentedly crackling fire, did not break the mood. To abate concerns that my coronary arteries might be clearing too rapidly from the mean and lean life of the Festival, I forced myself to ingest the foies gras, lobster, and lamb specialties that comprised today's Menu Traditional, and a Le Flaive Puligny Montrachet was clearly indicated to wash down all this health food.

Invigorated, I made the descent back to Cannes, plunging from the sublime to the ridiculous. Conversation at the Majestic lounge is now dominated by the Brits, and the Saturday night crowd includes actuaries, accountants, and assorted servants of the public trust. Not trusting this, and the hour growing definitely to "after", I used sonar to locate hubs of activity. Yes, J's warning - that Saturday night is best to leave for the tourists - haunted me. Despite some reassuring signs (by New York standards), including 6 foot 4 inch transvestites attired in various animal prints, (and incidentally, with better hair coloring than the species of under-30's accompanying the over-50's observed last night), and an increased incidence of unique body piercings, there was also the jarring lilt of Liverpool au pairs ("Woy, doencha ya know, I did a bit of stud-ying, in thot *Colour Therapy*, thot's woy I got on this red dress, loik ya do!").

Leave them, the mind whispered, to improve their French in social discourse with the boys of the neighboring and quiet Cannet, who were overly intoxicated, but still able to work the conversation to descriptions of yellow Lamborghini's, which appeared to mark some common ground. Before the motor oil got too thick, I darted to refuge in a populous cavern nearby. The smoke was too thick to make out any details, and following the Sortie signs that promised an escape route, I climbed the stairs to a black curtain, with silk-screened stars. Pulling it apart revealed a boys' club, far too involved with each other to notice me. I rapidly concluded that this venue was not one likely to yield reproductive success on the part of the participants, and since my goal remains to identify those species that will be perpetuated (my Darwinian agenda remains clear), I retraced my steps into the cool evening air, back to the now silent rue Meynadier, back to the arms of Morpheus.

Your faithful analyst,

Dr. Reichard Flickheimer

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