8 Decades of The Hollywood Reporter
Though he didn't leave Cannes with a Palme d'Or, Harvey Weinstein was the most prominent personnalité at this year's fest. He had two high-profile films in competition (Killing Them Softly and Lawless), one not (The Sapphires), bought three (Haute Cuisine, Code Name: Geronimo and The Oath of Tobruk) and co-chaired the amfAR gala that raised $10.7 million. But in 1994 he had a killer year with Pulp Fiction. Weinstein says he withheld Quentin Tarantino's pic from critics because he wanted the Cannes screening to be a "Were you there?" experience. The Weinstein Company co-chair recalls this in a call from Cannes, where on a rainy Saturday night, stuck in traffic, he is also giving instructions to his driver. ("Michael, can you get off the phone? You know where it is? Get off the phone.") Fifteen minutes into the Fiction screening, there was "a volcanic eruption of laughter and applause ... It was a blowout," says Weinstein. "Pulp Fiction was the only thing I've seen that was like that." The Cannes jury headed by Clint Eastwood gave Fiction the Palme d'Or "amidst prolonged cheers and applause as well as a few catcalls," according to The Hollywood Reporter, which added that Tarantino gave "a jeering protester the finger as he accepted the prize." Weinstein says, win or lose, he feels Cannes "is still the most exciting place to unveil a movie. You never know if you're going to hear the sound of seats popping as people leave, or the ecstasy of a standing ovation."