French fume at H'w'd over thesp's exit

PARIS — Finding Jodie Foster’s replacement as jury president of the Cannes Intl. Film Festival could take a week or a month, fest prexy Gilles Jacob said Monday.

Foster ankled the presidency over the weekend following her decision to step in to replace Nicole Kidman in David Fincher’s “The Panic Room.”

Jacob and his team will have to come up with a list of names to present to the festival’s board of governors later this week. Some of the names will be those previously shortlisted, but new ones could be added.

Upon learning that the Francophile Foster, the acceptable face of Hollywood, would not be coming to Cannes this year, French film industry folk greeted the news with disappointment tinged with cynicism.

In a front-page editorial headlined “Hollywood and its big checks snatches Jodie Foster from the Cannes Festival,” the daily Le Monde said it would be difficult for Jacob to find a better president.

The paper opined: “The year 2001 was supposed to be the one that saw an improvement in relations between the world’s first festival and Hollywood, whose barons do not understand and do not tolerate films being selected and given prizes according to criteria other than their own. Jodie Foster would have been an ambassador between the two worlds. But finally Hollywood law, that of blockbusters and vertiginous fees, won the day.”

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