Catch it if You Cannes

Today is the start of the world's most prestigious and nebulous film event, The Cannes Film Festival. Basically the streets in France will be lined with thousands of film lovers who have absolutely no chance of seeing a film. Things you can count on the next 12 days:

* French critics and press doing backflips over Michael Moore's trashing of America.

* Quentin Tarantino behaving like an audio-visual geek amped up on Red Bull.

* Members of the foreign press straining all lines of convention to justify a story that requires shooting footage at a topless beach.

There has been a great deal of hand wringing in France that the film employees of that country are going to stage a bit of a protest over their cut in government benefits. It seems for years France has supported the arts by literally supporting their artists. There has long been a program whereby workers in films and other performance arts could actually work a fraction of the year and collect unemployment for the duration.

Now that program is to be overhauled because of rampant abuse and the largesse is being trimmed severely, although severe is up for interpretation. Talk to a twenty-something thespian working three jobs in L.A. while hoping to land a speaking part in a Viagra commercial and see how much sympathy you get from him.

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