Neither a particularly insightful insider tome about the international film biz nor a sharply observed diary of life in the trenches of the Cannes Film Festival, “King of Cannes” is instead a sporadically amusing account of Brit filmmaker Stephen Walker’s adventures in both.A mishmash of invented scenes, real encounters, ruminations on art, life and showbiz, all cobbled together via Walker’s efforts to direct a documentary about four filmmakers questing for Cannes glory, “King” strains for both humor and profundity. Heavily padded with sketchily drawn incidents on plane flights, in restaurants, parties and populated by cliched characters — i.e. greedy producers, desperate helmers, gray bankers — Walker’s stab at the Meaning of Cannes pales in comparison to similar works like William Goldman’s “Hype and Glory” and Roger Ebert’s “Two Weeks in the Midday Sun.” Like the fest itself, one leaves the affair with a bit of a headache and no clue as to what really happened or why.
ALGONQUIN BOOKS, 276 PGS. $21.95
By STEPHEN WALKER