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SEDUCED AND ABANDONED

SYNOPSIS:
Actor Alec Baldwin and director James Toback lead us on a troublesome journey of raising financing for their next feature film. Moving from director to financier to star, the two players provide a unique look behind the curtain at Cannes (the 2012 festival), the world's biggest and most glamorous film festival, shining a light on the bitter-sweet relationship filmmakers have with the Festival de Cannes and the film business.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
As a film trade journalist in the 80s and 90s I covered the Cannes film festival 20 times, and seduced and abandoned is how I always felt. But as Francis Ford Coppola points out in this film, Cannes has long lost its sense of fun and become mean, thanks not to the organisers but to the publicity and marketing machinery that has grown on it like a giant parasite. It is a unique altar to cinema as well as the money changers' bazaar.

Interviews with the line-up of many film industry practitioners - from the executive producers to some of the stars - this is a doco for the insiders (especially the second half), its well intentioned multi-screen device more distracting than informing and its chaotic content of conversations just like Cannes itself: wonderful moments strung together by terrible half hours.

Among the few wonderful moments is Roman Polanski explaining how it came about that Poland had sucha great film school (of which he is a famous graduate): it was because Lenin once said of all the art forms, film is the most important "for us". Meaning for us communists. But mostly they all talk about how hard it is to raise the money - hardly novel, hardly news.

The filmmakers walk around familiar (to me) pavements of the Croisette and the underground alleys of the market stalls. They talk film financing talk and occasionally make jokes. But then we get a series of star interviews, completely out of context, edited in to change our focus. It doesn't work. It's like three different docos slapped together, none of them complete and coherent - or satisfying. Still, it's interesting.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

SEDUCED AND ABANDONED (MA15+)
(US, 2013)

CAST: Documentary

PRODUCER: Alec Baldwin, Michael Mailer

DIRECTOR: James Toback

SCRIPT: James Toback

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Ruben Sluijter

EDITOR: Aaron Yanes

MUSIC: Dmitri Shostakovich

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Frédéric Bergé (Art Direction)

RUNNING TIME: 98 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Transmission

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 8, 2014 (Victoria only)







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