Film Scouts Diaries

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

by Dr. R. Flickheimer, PhD.

May 14, 1996

Monday seems to mean business in Cannes. The activity level - at least from the vantage of a naive outsider - has definitely picked up. The reader should not fear that this displaces the inanity, which proceeds apace. For example, more humans were masquerading as foodstuffs, and the larder today was enhanced at least by a 6 foot chicken; another potential grazing target is represented by the Tropicana Girls, whose physiques and garments suggest certain ripe tropical fruits, but more research would be necessary to determine unequivocally whether they are actually edible I doubt Anita Bryant would approve in any case.

Today there was an emergence of PIM's (digital Personal Information Managers, furiously flipping Filofaxes) on every street corner of the Croisette, complementing the cellular phones that have been attached to 30% of all ears since the beginning of the festival. I was most impressed by a man, standing in an adjacent urinal of the mens' room located just off the Majestic Lounge, who managed a PIM in one hand and his cellular in the other . . . some rapid calculations suggested that he might be short a hand to conduct the rest of his business, but perhaps long time festival attendees have developed novel adaptations to overcome such problems?

Brief followup on the case of Q, who in prior notes has been described as a classic case of Gerstmann's syndrome. Q participated intensely in the business cycle; I observed a flurry of appointments being scheduled, each delicately conflicting with the next. The intensity of this process was facilitated by the arrival of Q's L.A. public relations specialist (L.P.), who seemed uniquely capable of carrying on one conversation while listening (with good comprehension) to another, and preparing a written agenda that had no relation to either. This kind of parallel processing may be unique to those in the PR business, and further investigation is warranted.

An expansive lunch on the terrace of the Martinez, and more Provencal wine, when superimposed on 3.5 hours of sleep, made a film seem an attractive option for a few afternoon hours, and in exchange for some prior neuropsychodynamic consultations, I obtained an invitation that gained entree to a most comfortable private screening room. Since I enjoyed the movie, I fear it will be a miserable flop, and indeed I was feeling somewhat guilty for slacking on my mission - detailed behavioral observations are challenging in the dark and hush.

Following instincts and a flow of cynical energy, I found myself back in the Majestic Lounge, which by now, I know better than my apartment in New York. I had not even obtained a drink before encountering a small herd of highly gregarious and slightly underdressed (i.e., not in formal attire) individuals - apparently four males and one female (in this species, I surmise that the females are more dramatic in coloring and markings). They appeared quite interested when I explained my mission, and seemed to share a genuine enthusiasm for understanding the mechanisms of the brain. I was somewhat surprised by their claims to share a common interest in human biology, until the female of the group approached with a hand-held video player to show me the results - what they call a 'trailer' (I think it's similar to what we scientists call an 'abstracts') - from their most recent project. While the video quality would hardly qualify for a platform presentation in a modern neuroimaging conference, and the specific aims, methods, and results remained vague, it must be said that the level of superficial anatomic detail, including three dimensional surface renderings targeting extreme variations in female anatomy, showed some innovation. This boisterous herd further recommended a party aboard a yacht, anchored in the Cannes Harbor, that promised live demonstrations with goals parallel to those of their own project.

A short walk to the Old Cannes harbor, and a short trip on a motor launch, brought interested observers to this sea-going laboratory. Although the facilities were impressive, overshadowing most research environments I have witnessed, the commitment of their faculty to advancing clear scientific goals was somewhat questionable. The demonstration failed to break new ground in the understanding of human biology, and indeed, I can attest to the fact that more explicit presentations were made last night on the dance floor of the 'Opera' discoteque. Other observers were disappointed not only in the quality of the presentation, but further in the quality and costs of nourishment and libations. Although this informal site visit can hardly be used to judge the overall quality of work to be conducted there, I have grave doubts that this laboratory will be able to survive competitive review for future funding. But perhaps they have other sources of support ot sustain these efforts?

Fatigued by these investigations, I returned to submit these notes to you,

Ever faithful,

Dr. Reichard Flickheimer

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