There's nothing like Cannes to bring out the media blitz around the world's greatest filmmakers. It's the only time of year when the latest project from French auteur Leos Carax makes a splashy headline in Variety. (According to the industry trade, Carax's first English language film, Scars, is a road movie that follows "a traumatized Russian war vet and a beautiful, cold-hearted model whose lives intersect while they are on the run.")

By coincidence, just two days ago I spotted Carax -- director of such luminous art-films as Boy Meets Girl and Les Amants du Pont-Neuf -- at New York's SoHo Grand chatting up a young blonde beauty in the lobby. I happened to be interviewing the libidinous D.P. Christopher Doyle and Thai filmmaker Pen-ek Ratanaruang (who worked together on the upcoming Last Life in the Universe) when they spotted Carax. It's apparently film legend that the brooding Carax strikes up relationships with would-be starlets. And judging from Doyle's ogling of the waitress and the way they spoke of their partying with Carax over the weekend, I get the feeling the whole gang of arty filmmakers were on the prowl.

Moving on, UK newspaper The Independent has also run two feature stories timed to coincide with the big French festivities about highly anticipated art cinema that has nothing to do with this year's Cannes, Michael Winterbottom's erotic drama 9 Songs, ("Lights, camera, explicit action") and Lars von Trier's Dogville sequel, Manderlay ("The cruel and crazy world of Lars von Trier"). I should thank MovieCityNews for providing a link to the Winterbottom article, but the von Trier story is a real hoot, as well. The paper reports that actor John C. Reilly left the shoot after von Trier asked him "to take part in a scene featuring the slaughter of a live donkey." Explicit sex and animal murder -- now why don't America's maverick filmmakers stir up such controversy?