By the eighth day of Cannes folks typically begin to flag but judging from the buzz on the Croisette a sizeable number will re-boot for the Wednesday afternoon (May 19) screenings of “Stones in Exile,” a one-hour doc reliving the glory days of the Rolling Stones.
The exile in question, appropriately enough, was right here on the French Riviera since the band members had to leave England right after the swinging ’60s in order to avoid taxes. They set up shop on the Mediterranean coast, lived a version of the French provincial life (plus sex, drugs and rock-‘n-roll) for several years in the early 1970s, and produced one of their best albums, “Exile on Main Street,” in the offing.
The doc culls from 40 hours of musty outtakes shot by American docmeister Robert Frank for his own opus (the banned but bootlegged “Cocksucker Blues”), hidden in vaults for almost 40 years, as well as from stills done by the French photographer Dominique Tarle, who hung out with the band. There are also a few interviews and voiceovers and all the band members are present and accounted for in the piece.
Mick Jagger and co. will field questions from the press immediately after the world premier screening in the Directors Fortnight section of the festival Wednesday afternoon in Cannes.
The pic airs May 23 on BBC One in the U.K. and in the U.S. it was partially shown in a tribute during Jimmy Fallon’s late night show on NBC last week.
Meanwhile here in Cannes, BBC Worldwide has been busily lining up licensing agreements in Belgium (VRT), Russia (Channel 1), Australia (ABC), Spain (Canal Plus), France (France 5), Holland (VPRO), Sweden (SVT), Norway (NRK) and Finland (YLE).
The distributor said it also has sales in Latin America, Brazil, Germany and Israel lined up but had not yet received signatures on the dotted line.
The doc’s director, Stephen Kijak, told THR that the picture focuses on the music but also captures the band in “an elegant, elegiac, wasted but youthful state” as they partied, practiced and put together the album in that long ago heady period in 1971.
“It’s only appropriate,” Kijak said, “that the movie should premier here in Cannes, right near where it all came together.”
Kijak previously directed a doc about Scott Walker, an American expat who made it big in the pop world of London in the 1960s.
Also on hand for the two back-to-back Wednesday screenings will be the doc’s producers John Battsek and Victoria Pearman.
The Polydor/Universal expanded reissue of “Exile on Main Street” is at No. 1 in the official mid-week U.K. albums chart, according to the Official Charts Co.