Synopsis by Nathan Southern
At the time of its production, To Each His Own Cinema represented the latest arrival in a tidal wave of internationally oriented omnibus films, with no official relation between them but all produced within a few years of one another. Few could claim a roster of talent comparable to this one, which boasts contributions by 33 of the most acclaimed directors in world cinema, each responsible for three minutes of celluloid. Gilles Jacob, president of the Cannes Festival, devised the project as a "gift" to commemorate the festival's 60th birthday, and recruited many Golden Palm winners in the directorial selection process. Simply put, Jacob asked each director to express, cinematically, his or her "state of mind of the moment as inspired by the motion picture theater." Featured filmmakers include Joel and Ethan Coen; Olivier Assayas; Atom Egoyan; Walter Salles; Lars von Trier; Nanni Moretti; Roman Polanski; Theo Angelopoulos; Chen Kaige; Andrei Konchalovsky; and many, many others. Many of the initial entries (by Angelopoulos and others) involve the neglect or disrepute into which contemporary cinema, as a collective viewing experience, has fallen; a few segments, such as the Coen Brothers' short, about a cowboy (Josh Brolin) who attempts to determine which movie he should go see in sunny Los Angeles, employ a light and whimsical approach. At the other end of the spectrum sits David Cronenberg's piece -- a brutal short in which he prepares to commit a very public and graphic suicide on television before millions of viewers. Other highlights include Moretti -- offering a typically witty divertissement on what cinema means -- and Zhang Yimou, who lyrically depicts the gathering of numerous rural children for a screening at a movie theater.