Seduced and Abandoned (4 stars)

Seduced and Abandoned

A look behind-the-scenes at Cannes Film Festival with James Toback and Alec Baldwin

The Cannes Film Festival is the place where high art meets low commerce. It's where the new Michael Haneke can claim as many column inches as the new Michael Bay. In 2012, cult writer/director James (Fingers) Toback and actor Alec Baldwin headed to a Riviera famously described by Somerset Maugham as a "sunny place for shady people". Their ambitious aim was to secure financing for a loosely conceived project that would revisit the intensity of Last Tango In Paris against the backdrop of the Iraq war.

Toback's documentary essay is an account of their adventures on the Riviera in which, inevitably, they are met with skepticism and hard reality as to the commercial appeal of the project and the bankability or otherwise of Baldwin and projected co-star Neve Campbell. Toback starts the film with a plaintive quote from Orson Welles stating that he spent 95% of his film career chasing finance and 5% of it actually making films. Seduced And Abandoned gives a pretty sound insight into why that holds true as they try and fail to woo or cajole sales agents, producers and wealthy benefactors. It is the smart, sharp-witted Baldwin who provides the film with its title noting that the film industry leave you 'seduced and abandoned over and over again'.

What really gives the film substance is the duo's conversations with Martin Scorsese, Roman Polanski, Bernardo Bertolucci, Jessica Chastain, Ryan Gosling, James Caan and many others on how they feel about film as an art form and a career choice. You may not want to see their film but you would back a television series in which they quizzed the great and good of the film world. Seduced And Abandoned may have limited appeal for general moviegoers but dedicated film buffs will love it.

Limited release from Fri 8 Nov.

Seduced and Abandoned Trailer

Seduced and Abandoned

  • 4 stars
  • 2013
  • US
  • 1h 40min
  • 15
  • Directed by: James Toback
  • Cast: Alec Baldwin, James Toback, Ryan Gosling, Diane Kruger
  • UK release: 8 November 2013

Documentary essay by writer/director Toback, recounting the adventures of himself and actor Baldwin as the pair roamed the 2012 Cannes Film Festival trying and failing to raise funding for a movie. You might not want to see the movie they wanted to make, but dedicated film buffs will love what they ended up with.