Festival de Cannes 70: All That Jazz, 1980

A sunny shout-out to 70 winners at the Cannes Film Festival to celebrate the 70th event which is just around the corner – in no particular order.

The 1970s in movies was that decade when Francis Ford Coppola kept going head-to-head with Bob Fosse (both nominated for Best Director Oscar in 1972, 1974, and 1979 – wow). Coppola’s unparalleled achievement was taking two Best Picture Oscars and winning the Palme d’Or twice, all for four different movies, in that one decade. Fosse famously took Best Director for Cabaret (1972). He then triumphed with All That Jazz at Cannes in 1980, a month after the film picked up four Oscars (the film is deemed a seventies picture on the skin of its U.S. release), sharing the Palme d’Or with Akira Kurosawa’s Kagemusha. Although the spine of the (semi-autobiographical) story is about Joe Gideon (Roy Scheider) attempting to see the light (both toward death, and the error of his ways in life), to me, this musical is a real extravaganza. I am pretty certain Scheider was not this good in anything else. Like Cabaret, it is choreographed and executed to perfection, like a fun grand illusion of dance and light. The tough subject matter is not always to sing and dance about, but magician Fosse blends it all together in majestic fashion. I am a real sucker for this. It is full of great set-pieces and play-again numbers, not forgetting of course that extraordinary final sequence, which is touchingly mesmerizing.

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