Fewer American films in Cannes competition


Movie fans hoping to see major American stars at the 47th Cannes Film Festival getting under way tonight will pretty much have to settle for the daily glimpses of jury president Clint Eastwood walking into screenings.

The competition films that Mr. Eastwood and his fellow jurors, Catherine Deneuve among them, will judge are conspicuously absent of prominent American movies. There is only one major studio picture on the schedule, Warner Bros.' "The Hudsucker Proxy," and its selection seems more an honorarium for the Coen brothers, who won the Golden Palm with their last film, "Barton Fink."

The other two U.S. films in the main competition -- Alan Rudolph's "Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle" and Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction" -- are both hotly awaited by critics, but general audiences will be less likely to warm to them.

"Mrs. Parker," produced by Mr. Rudolph's one-time mentor Robert Altman, stars Jennifer Jason Leigh (the co-star of "Hudsucker Proxy," as well) as witty writer Dorothy Parker, in a story re-creating the characters and atmosphere of the famous circle she presided over at Manhattan's Algonquin Hotel.

"Pulp Fiction," the follow-up to Mr. Tarantino's ultra-violent and critically acclaimed "Reservoir Dogs," is described as an anthology of crimes, lust and avarice.

The European premiere of "The Hudsucker Proxy," starring Paul Newman, opens the festival Wednesday night, and John Waters' "Serial Mom," being shown out of competition, will close it out after the awards presentations May 23.

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