Cannes 2013: Seduced And Abandoned Initial Reaction

James Toback and Alec Baldwin take on film financing

seduced and abandoned alec baldwin documentary

A HBO feature film documentary about movies, movie making, Cannes and death, it was a safe bet that Seduced And Abandoned - so called because that's how Alec Baldwin and director James Toback feel about every film they make - would go down well on the Croisette.

The premise is delightfully meta. We're shown Baldwin and Toback as they swan about last year's Cannes Film Festival, trying to rustle up money for their contemporary reinterpretation of Last Tango In Paris. They have a couple of rules, though: they want Baldwin to star alongside Neve Campbell, there has to be plenty of "exploratory sex" and it needs to be set in Iraq. "Think of it as Last Tango In Tikrit," Toback quips.

Cut in with all the joyfully frank interviews with financiers are equally joyful and frank interviews with the likes of Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Roman Polanski, Bernardo Bertolucci, Diane Kruger, Jeff Katzenberg and, a stand-out amongst many other fascinating anecdote-tellers, Ryan Gosling, whose tales of starting out in L.A. somehow rise above all the other stories shared.

The essayish, collage-like tone rambles around several topics, with heavy use of stills and on-screen titles, but the sheer charm of the pair and the genuine humour sees you through. There's a slight lull two thirds of the way in, with the money talk getting a bit much, while Baldwin's tendancy to talk over his interviewees may annoy veteran doc lovers, but it's an enjoyable insight not only into Toback and Baldwin's lives, but also those of all the beautiful people they assemble to be part of the project. Look forward to a supercut online of all the times the word "death" is heard once it comes out...