Film review: Seduced And Abandoned investigates 'constant tug of war' in film-making

James Toback, 98mins (15)

Aspiring film-makers won't know whether to feel relief or despair at James Toback's documentary about cinephilia and the movie business.

The film follows Toback and his collaborator Alec Baldwin as they traipse round the Cannes Festival in 2012, hoping to convince foreign distributors and sales agents – or any passing billionaires – to finance their new thriller, Last Tango in Tikrit. We are never quite sure whether they really intend to make the film.

Whatever the case, it gives them the perfect excuse to investigate what Martin Scorsese once called "the constant tug of war between personal expression and commercial imperatives" in film-making.

The despairing side lies in the sheer cynicism of the financiers. As Toback and Baldwin quickly discover, their "package" (which also includes Neve Campbell as co-star) isn't at all alluring to the foreign distributors.

Even more dismaying are the anecdotes they hear from such revered figures as Scorsese, Roman Polanski and Francis Ford Coppola about their struggles to make their own movies.

Coppola tells them he was so distraught no one would back Apocalypse Now that he threw all the Oscar statuettes he had won for the Godfather movies out of the window.

The film-makers quote Orson Welles's remark about having spent 95 per cent of his career "running around trying to raise money to make movies and 5 per cent actually making them". A droll Ryan Gosling (who they hope to cast) tells them a funny but very bleak story about the audition process in Hollywood.

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