CANNES DIARY / Snow, smoke and some great movies: Sheila Johnston on clashes between sexploitation and political correctness, fairy tales and crisis

It was the year it snowed on the Croisette (a publicity stunt for Stallone's Cliffhanger). It was another year of silly projects. One British lawyer told me he was brokering a deal for a film about a vigilante teddy bear and another explained a financing scam - correction, scheme - involving something called a double tax agreement with Hungary. Among its traditional slate of trash, Troma Films was selling the first Hungarian- shot sexploitation movie, Maniac Nurses Find Ecstasy. But it was also, ominously, the year that only one East European film made the official selection, a woolly first feature from Russia called Dyuba Dyuba.

It was a year of political correctness, when even Menahem Golan announced a slate of fairy tales which included the revisionist Jackie and the Beanstalk (but was also peddling Emmanuelle's Seventh Heaven and Death Wish V). There was a rash of non-smoking offices and - a recent innovation of French law - restaurants, but determined puffers were placated by packs of Death cigarettes plugging the British Film Institute's Psychotherapy.

Joel Schumacher's Falling Down, in which Michael Douglas runs amok through LA's ethic minorities, got ticked off, but Schumacher was unrepentent: after all many people who think PC don't really feel it in their bellies. 'Pretty soon, we'll only have films about nice lawyers in three-piece suits because we're afraid of offending anyone,' he said. 'And you won't like those movies either.' There were only two American films in competition, but both, for a change, were worth watching - the other one was Steven Soderbergh's King of the Hill, with which the man who stormed Cannes four years ago with sex, lies and videotape then laid a giant egg with his follow-up film, Kafka, came back with a small but beautifully crafted piece about a young boy's view of the Depression.

It was the year the Brits made a big splash. Stephen Frears' The Snapper got the Directors' Fortnight off to a roaring start (it played on British television a couple of weeks ago, but will now be re-launched theatrically). Mike Leigh's Naked, the competition's first hit, is still a front runner for a major prize. On its heels is Kenneth Branagh's bright and sunny, Tuscan-set Much Ado About Nothing, which few are likely to claim as an epoch-making version of Shakespeare's play, but which was seized upon eagerly as much needed light relief in a festival short on comedy.

Splitting Heirs failed, alas, to confound the UK and American critics who had already panned it, and reaped a harvest of blobs, x's and nul points except for some French eccentrics (the same ones, probably, who worship Jerry Lewis as a great film auteur). Ken Loach's Raining Stones, a simple and powerfully direct comedy-drama about life on the dole, played right at the end of the festival, but not too late for Loach, a Cannes favourite, to be a strong contender. But this was also the year that the British company Rank announced a dollars 75 m investment deal - with the American company Gladden, to the huge disappointment of British producers.

Jane Campion's The Piano is still the favourite for a Palm (it has since opened in the Paris area to excellent business, proving its mettle as more than a festival hit). Chen Kaige's Farewell to My Concubine offers stiff competition and either film would be a worthy laureate.

This was the year I could have had myself filmed walking up the steps of the Palais for a small consideration of 149 francs (about pounds 20), an offer which bore all the marks of a company desperate for business. Film Francais reported market activity down by about 25 per cent under the headline 'Is Cannes broke?', while people wandered around in T-shirts forlornly proclaiming Consume Mass Quantities (for a forthcoming film of Saturday Night Live's Coneheads). It was not a year of astonishing first features and exciting discoveries. But 1993 was - and this can't be taken for granted - the year we saw some outstanding movies.

Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
film
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Comics
Arts and Entertainment
I am flute: Azeem Ward and his now-famous instrument
music
Arts and Entertainment
A glass act: Dr Chris van Tulleken (left) and twin Xand get set for their drinking challenge
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
MIA perform at Lovebox 2014 in London Fields, Hackney

music
Arts and Entertainment
Finnish punk band PKN hope to enter Eurovision 2015 and raise awareness for Down's Syndrome

eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
William Shakespeare on the cover of John Gerard's The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes

books
Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones review
Arts and Entertainment
Grayson Perry dedicates his Essex home to Julie

Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treat

tv
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the original Swedish version of the sci-fi TV drama ‘Real Humans’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Keays-Byrne plays Immortan Joe, the terrifying gang leader, in the new film
filmActor who played Toecutter returns - but as a different villain in reboot
Arts and Entertainment
Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jessica Hynes in W1A
tvReview: Perhaps the creators of W1A should lay off the copy and paste function spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Power play: Mitsuko Uchida in concert

classical
Arts and Entertainment
Dangerous liaisons: Dominic West, Jake Richard Siciliano, Maura Tierney and Leya Catlett in ‘The Affair’ – a contradictory drama but one which is sure to reel the viewers in
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Herring, pictured performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival two years ago
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Music freak: Max Runham in the funfair band
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
film 'I felt under-used by Hollywood'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine