- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
Nicolas Cage, who has Mandy — a psychedelic action-thriller that wowed Sundance audiences — screening this year in the Directors’ Fortnight section, first came to Cannes in 1985 with Birdy when he was 21.
He chose quite a year for his Cannes baptism. The Hollywood Reporter wrote that the festival had “a record number of attendees” that it estimated at about 35,000 and said the increased population led to “crushing crowds, celebrity mob scenes and hot tempers.” On the other hand, THR was happy the crowd included big Hollywood names including James Stewart (who presented the Palme d’Or to Emir Kusturica’s When Father Was Away on Business); Farrah Fawcett (who got knocked on the head by a camera during the chaos when she arrived); and Cher (who shared the best actress award for Mask and in her acceptance speech went out of her way to thank the screenwriter — but couldn’t remember Anna Hamilton Phelan’s name).
As for Birdy, THR had mixed feelings. Though it lauded director Alan Parker’s courage in adapting a novel centered on a schizophrenic Vietnam War veteran who hears voices and wants to become a bird, the review said, “There is some material that is so formidable and forbidding that tackling it makes you doubt the filmmaker’s sanity.” (Parker, who has written about the difficulties he had making the movie, would probably agree.)
THR also enjoyed the film’s afterparty, where four white doves were released from a massive cake while Peter Gabriel’s Birdy theme played. The Cannes jury, headed by Milos Forman, liked the drama, but not enough to give it the Palme d’Or. Birdy received the lesser Special Grand Jury prize. This led to a minor post-fest scandal. When it premiered in England, the ads noted Birdy was the “grand prize winner” at Cannes, a tricky way of using the word “grand,” but not exactly accurate.
A version of this story appears in The Hollywood Reporter’s May 10 daily issue from the Cannes Film Festival.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day