Overlapping film names play at Cannes

Crouching titles, hidden drollness

CANNES — What hath Cannes wrought?

After making a huge splash at the fest here last year, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” went on to boffo B.O. and multiple Oscars. This year, it may be a coincidence that Cannes is offering “Roaring Dragon, Bluffing Tiger” and “Flying Dragon, Leaping Tiger.”

Also here: “Flying Tigers,” “Glass Tiger,” “Tears of the Black Tiger” and “Dragon Hunters.”

And, perhaps in tribute to past hit “The Piano,” this year there is a crescendo of anticipation for both “Le Pianiste” and “The Pianist.”

A flood of outlets (film, TV, cable, video) inevitably means a flood of product and a flood of titles — which inevitably leads to overlap. So it may be no surprise that festgoers this year can sample “The Lord of the Dance,” “The Ring” and “The Lord of the Rings,” as well as “Wooly Boys” and “Empire of the Woolley Worms.”

But not to worry. Some of these titles are tentative. Last year, the Croisette was buzzing with the newly announced “The Dancer Upstairs” as well as “Dancer in the Dark,” “Dancing in the Dark” and “Dancer.” But the last two ended up changing their titles, to “Original Sin” and “Billy Elliot,” respectively.

Last year’s “Billy” is not to be confused, however, with this year’s “Sam,” “Alf,” “Ozzie” or even “Little Caroline,” “Carolina,” “Amelia,” “Tom & Thomas” or “Pauline and Paulette.”

Still, it also makes you appreciate titles like Intramovies’ “He Died With a Felafel in His Hand.” After all, it could have been “Felafels in the Dark” or “Crouching Felafels, Hidden Popadoms.”

–Timothy M. Gray

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