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Exploring the personal side of glitzy event

It's the Cannes film festival. Glitzy celebrities! Powerful producers! Hollywood moguls!

But what about the personal side: The young actress looking for a break? The aging diva longing for a comeback? The indie newcomer and the studio hotshot scrambling for the same star?

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That's the territory explored by "Festival in Cannes," a romantic comedy by Henry Jaglom, who has his own insider-outsider relationship with the big-time film industry.

He's made many pictures, but he cares more about lifelike acting and easygoing dialogue than fashionable subjects and sensational stories.

Jaglom stays with this principle in his new movie, shot during the Cannes festival in 2000.

The cast is excellent: Ron Silver as a Hollywood wheeler-dealer; Maximilian Schell as a dignified director; Greta Scacchi as an actress hoping to direct her own script; and Anouk Aimée as a former star deciding between a big part in a tiny film and vice versa.

Movie buffs will find lots of in-jokes here - as when the story ends with Silver and Scacchi in an embrace echoing the climax of "A Man and a Woman," a Cannes triumph for Aimée in 1966.

But whether or not you notice these touches, you can't miss the amiable tone of "Festival in Cannes," which Jaglom developed in his usual improvisational style.

It's a loosely strung movie about self-absorbed people in a money-driven world - and as uninviting as that sounds, it's one of the season's most watchable treats.

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• Rated PG-13; contains brief vulgarity.


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