Seduced and Abandoned
The credits for this film should also include Bernardo Bertolucci, Roman Polanski, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Ryan Gosling and Jessica Chastain – just some of those who step into the lens trained onto the Cannes Film Festival, and in particular the thorny issue of film funding as Toback and Baldwin hunt for backers to take on a project provisionally entitled Last Tango in Tikrit.
Given Baldwin’s self-proclaimed exile from public life, this could (but probably won’t) be a last chance to catch him expounding with cheerful and (only) semi-ironic self-deprecation on what it takes to survive in the movie industry; to ensnare powerful producers or work with great directors.
“Fail better,” said Beckett memorably. Baldwin and Toback variously have. They wear their chagrin at the movie industry’s veniality and delight at its occasionally brilliant – and generously quoted – filmic products a little too loudly on their sleeves. The Shostakovich-heavy soundtrack underscores this mixture of bathos and pathos. But deconstruct all you want: their enthralment to the temporality of fairground magic shines through. Almost despite itself, this movie is both an entertaining and engaging example of what keeps that carousel turning.
Seduced and Abandoned | Directed by James Toback (USA 2013) with Alec Baldwin. Starts July 10