CANNON MONTH: Shy People (1988)

A nominee for the 1987 Cannes Film Festival Golden Palm and the movie that won Barbara Hershey best actress at that year’s festival, Shy People features the eleventh official soundtrack by the band Tangerine Dream. Want to know more about them? Check out a past article we featured on the site, Exploring: 10 Tangerine Dream Film Soundtracks.

Diana Sullivan (Jill Clayburgh) may be a successful New York journalist, but she has no idea just how bad her daughter Grace (Martha Plimpton) has spiraled out of control or how bad her cocaine habit is. Meanwhile, a new assignment takes her back home and into Louisiana, where they come into the orbit of Diana’s distant cousin, Ruth (Hershey) and her brood of boys who have been taught that everything that comes from the cities is wrong.

Director Andrei Konchalovsky also made Duet for OneMaria’s Lovers and Runaway Train for Cannon. Somehow, he soon followed this with Tango & Cash which still makes me think over his choices, as that film is so alien from the rest of what I know of his work.

Roger Ebert said that Shy People is “one of the great visionary films of recent years, a film that shakes off the petty distractions of safe Hollywood entertainments and develops a large vision.”

After all the success at Cannes and such a strong review, why is Shy People nearly forgotten? Every explained it as “a great film that slipped through the cracks of an idiotic distribution deal,” as “when a major distributor made a substantial offer for it, it developed that a Cannon executive already had booked it into 300 Southwestern theaters in a quick-cash deal. The major distributor pulled out, the movie never received a proper launching..,” and that was, sadly, that.

Luckily, we live in a time when movies are as close as the push of a button. Shy People is on Tubi and you can watch it right now.

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