Film Scouts Diaries

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

by Dr. R. Flickheimer, PhD.

May 13, 1996

Hmmm . . . the writing is becoming more difficult now, as I merge more closely into the experience that is Cannes '96. Not that the films are so compelling, but as I find an ecological niche whereby the most interesting species can be observed, the written word seems more difficult to produce. Of course, this may be explained simply by sleep deprivation and toxicity from the Glen Morangie.

The day started innocently enough. Q has obtained her objective. The deal is done, at least in spirit, and only a few contracts remain to be signed. But these factors are incidental to what is a *new scientific discovery*. Previously, it was suggested that Q had a unique neurologic condition - Gerstmann's syndrome - which has been hypothesized to result from the effects of testosterone during intra-uterine development. It is now clear that cutting a major Hollywood deal can have the effect, possibly transient, of increasing susceptibility to testosterone in those individuals who have this predisposition. This may have been uncommon in females previously, but I believe we now have a well documented case, which could foster an entire new avenue of research. The evidence is clear. Q, calling at 09:38 was positively assertive, aggressive, demanding in a way that seemed somewhat uncharacteristic, and could help explain how an entire new class of women is emerging to rule the world. Men no longer have the exclusive rights to testosterone.

But explicating this syndrome will require more detailed scientific treatises. After the awakening by Q, I was fortunately able to sleep a bit more, to prepare for the daily mission. These were not overly daunting at first, as I accompanied colleagues to the Colombe D'Or, an exquisite retreat with views of the old walled settlement of St. Paul de Vence, and an exquisite lunchtime repast. The "appetizer" alone, comprising 24 unique dishes, is ample to stave the hunger of armies, and perhaps this is the intent. I could not resist sampling yet another dose of foie gras, feeling that I may yet sustain adequate blood flow in at least one free coronary artery, a condition that will surely be corrected by the end of the next week.

The mid-day carbohydrate loading did not deter me, however, from important expeditions. I began this investigation with little hope, given that Cannes, starting at about 14:00, was shrouded in a depressing drizzle, that threatened to dampen the spirits of the most enthusiastic and wide-eyed denizens of the Croisette. A brief pit-stop at the Martinez did not provide reassurance, and I was almost convinced that the major nocturnal species had emigrated; after all - rain, Sunday night, lack of major American funding - all these factors might easily lead to a Cote d'Azur Major Depressive Episode. Wandering further, however, and seeking refuge in the Casting Bar (or is it a 'Club'; my limited knowledge suggested that 'casting' was the principal modifier of 'couch', but I am still naive), I encountered a pair of female executives.

Bound by yet another confidentiailty agreement (I am becoming suspicious that paranoia increases closer to the top), I can only say that they are employed in a major film production/distribution conglomerate. Overworked, they nevertheless found my mission compelling enough to escort me to the company yacht, where comforting libations were provided by a skilled crew. While pleasant enough, this seemed overly familiar, and given my mission, to discover new species, I pressed on into the after-hours.

As Yogi Berra once said, it was deja vu all over again, as I revisited the Casting (club, bar, whatever). But now the blinds were drawn, the entrance guarded, and perhaps only my earlier generous gratuity earned me access to what had transformed into a club 'Prive'. And the scene inside had changed. Standing innocuously, as is my habit, at the bar, I was surprised by a dark, angry man, waving me away. I wondered whether I may have committed some faux pas, perhaps ordering the wrong cocktail for the hour, or wearing the wrong clothes, but it became clear within seconds that I was simply standing too close to an exotic female, ostensibly the recent prize of this ruffian's quest for the night. Realizing that again, I was in danger, I sought refuge at a nearby table, explaining in hushed tones to the occupants that death threats had been levied against me for occupying the wrong square meter of Cannes turf.

And I am happy to report that not all nocturnal species of Cannes are so forbidding, or dominated by these primitive territorial instincts, for I was welcomed and comforted by this grouping of amiable Cannes Casino Girls, as they describe themselves. Amanda, Sandra, Helen, Betty, and Patricia - one French, the others imported from England - who were willing to protect me from the savages, and indeed escorted me to "Opera", a relaxing oasis of Techno-music, and dancing, with high-intensity strobes tuned to the fundamental frequency of the human hippocampus, or in other words, designed to elicit seizures in those who are vulnerable . . . And although I recall little after this (perhaps the hippocampal stimulation erased some memories?), I indeed managed to return safely to deliver these notes to you.

Your faithful correspondent,

Dr. Reichard Flickheimer

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