Can one imagine the Cannes Film Festival without its share of controversies? Nope. If a movie is not smuggled into the Grand Theatre Lumiere right across the most rigid of borders and the sternest of censors, a star helmer will tell the media of the world that he loves Adolf Hitler (or something to the effect) or a starlet on the public beach at Cannes will let her bra slip to allow a hunk of a hero to cup her breasts -- but giving enough time for lensmen to capture that seductive second.
But the starlet affair was a long time ago, and in the intervening years, Cannes
has produced enough titillation and controversy to keep the festival on a dizzy high.
The latest storm crossing the Croisette is called Fatih Akin. As much as just about every film producer, director and actor wants his or her work to be at the festival, Germany’s Akin has withdrawn his The Cut from the race. And that too just hour before Cannes
announces the official lineup in Paris on April 17.
The third part of Akin’s trilogy on love, death and the devil, The Cut has a protagonist who looks like Charlie Chaplin. The first two movies were the Berlin Golden Bear winner, Head On (2004), and the Cannes Best Screenplay clincher, The Edge of Heaven (2007).
The French actor, Tahar Rahim (who shot to great fame with the prison drama, Jacques Audiard’s A Prophet -- Grand Prix at 2009 Cannes), plays the lead in The Cut, which examines the evil lurking in mankind.
Akin described the reason for quitting the race as “personal”. Yawn, yawn! Have we not heard this before?
A probable cause being cited is the death of Karl Baumgartner last month. He was the co-founder of Pandora Film, which produced The Cut. Baumgartner was ill for a long time, and he was important in Akin’s life.
But then Baumgartner died last month. Why would Akin wait for a month or so to call off his movie from the Cannes race? Has he fallen off with the festival? I presume the truth will emerge as the 12-day cinematic event begins its roll on May 14.
But now all eyes and ears for the official announcement of the selections on April 17 in Paris.