The sun was splitting the blue, blue sky in Cannes the last couple of days so thanks for sharing some of the sunshine that has been gracing Glasgow this week. Cannes isn't just where they show films of course - it is where they wheel and deal, finalise finance, announce big projects and ultimately shape the films that we will all see in 2013 and beyond. Some of the new projects sound compelling, like The Butler charting the life of Eugene Allen, a White House butler who served eight Presidents over four decades. The cast alone makes it irresistible with John Cusack as Richard Nixon, Alan Rickman as Ronald Reagan (!) and Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan. Who doesn't want to see that? Lynne Ramsay is attached to direct Jane Got a Gun, a western set to star Natalie Portman, but less thrilling is the plan to remake Highlander with Ryan Reynolds. Is that really necessary?
Enterprising Scots are all around from Park Circus supremo Nick Varley ushering Bond girls up the red carpet to producer Angus Lamont who has some of the best new projects out there and producer Bob Last who is nursing Terence Davies' keenly awaited adaptation of Sunset Song into production later this year.
It looked like there was an unofficial competition amongst the festival films to be the nuttiest nonsense in Cannes this year. Leos Carax's Holy Motors could be a hands-down winner in this category with Denis Lavant as a mysterious figure who spends his days being driven around Paris in a limo and transforming himself into a succession of different figures for a series of appointments. One minute he is an aged beggar woman, the next an assassin and later he even meets with an old flame played rather well by Kylie Minogue in fluent French. Kylie sings a plaintive song and at the end of the day all of the company limos have a philosophical chit chat with each other. Don't ask what it's about or what it all means. The screening was greeted by lusty, prolonged applause but I think it was meant in an ironic way celebrating the folly of it all. Probably not heading to a cinema near you.
Walter Salles adaptation of Kerouac's On the Road will hit British screens later in the summer. It is beautifully made and very watchable but also on the repetitive side and rather glossy and soulless despite some attractive performances and heartfelt sincerity by the filmmakers. British cinema has not played a huge part in this year's festival but Ben Wheatley's gleeful black comedy Sightseers was warmly received in Director's Fortnight. You will recall that Wheatley made Down Terrace and Kill List. If you can image a version of Natural Born Killers directed by Mike Leigh then that's Sightseers in a nutshell. A gormless couple head off in their caravan to the beauty spots of the Lake District and wind up embarking on a killing spree that never seems to stop. It is a darkly funny deadpan comedy but as a crowded audience hooted with laughter I wasn't persuaded that this was a film for me.
Speculation now focuses on what might win the festival's top prize of the Palme d'Or. There are still some films to screen including David Cronenberg's Cosmopolis and Lee Daniels steamy thriller The Paperboy but at the moment the one film that every critic loves is Michael Haneke's Love (L'Amour). Even if it is overlooked then Emanuelle Riva has to be the favourite for Best Actress.
Co-director, Glasgow Film Festival