The Cannes Film Festival, started as an independent anti-fascist alternative to Mussolini’s Venice Film Festival in 1946.
"The Festival is an apolitical no-man's-land, a microcosm of what the world would be like if people could contact each other directly and speak the same language." Jean Cocteau
The Festival International du Film was supposed to begin in Cannes in 1939, but due to the war, the launch date was put off. Finally, on 20 September 1946 the Festival de Cannes opened its doors, the first great international cultural event of the post-war period.
It can be a filmmakers paradise or purgatory depending on what side of the velvet ropes your on. Sometimes you’re kicking it at the Eden Rock with George Clooney, other times you are just another inglorious bastard on the outside looking in…
I’ve been attending the Cannes Film Festival every year since 2000. First trip we were shopping a no budget feature I co-produced, called Man Woman Film, featuring Cameron Diaz. I’ve been showing shorts in the Short Film Corner pretty much ever since.
The promenade, called the Croisette, where by day you can see some of the loveliest ladies in the world and by night you can see them again dressed to the nines, trying to blag their way into the nearest celeb filled party on the glamorous strip. We attended many but the highlight and most difficult challenge this year was the Inglorious Basterds party.
The usual A listers were representing. King and Queen Bradgelina graced the joint of course. After a few technical difficulties and the grace of god we arrived at the party. Headed straight to the bar for a metal bottle of Heiny, yuck. Spotted Bob Weinstien in one of the VIP areas. Said hello, asked how the kids were, and continued to the dance floor. Before I could even get a groove on, Willem passes by. I didn’t want to disturb him with any small talk as I hadn’t yet seen the film he was repping. Lars Van Trier’s Antichrist. Of which he apparently had a pretty steamy love scene with Charlotte Gainsbourg who went on to win best actress at Cannes this year. Rumor has it that beyond the chemistry that they shared on the screen, there may have been some on screen penetration as well… Go see for yourself. Should be released at an art house near you soon.
Back to the party. Just like the Death Proof party two years earlier it was one of the best bashes of the fest. The Moet was flowing properly with plenty of lovely waitresses to fill you up as soon as you hit bottom. Music was good and loud. And although Brangelina kept to itself in the VIP my man QT could be spotted getting a drink at the civilian bar with the rest of the tuxedoed riff raff…
The movie was almost as difficult to get into as the party. After the red carpet premiere sold out, they immediately added an extra press screening in the Salle du Soixantieme. A 400 seat theater just added on the roof of the Riviera in 2007. Legend has it that some members of the press were fighting and rushing the gate to get in. I certainly didn’t even try. One of the best additions the fest has made over the years is on the last Sunday they screen all the films in competition. You get one last chance to see what you missed. Sure enough the Inglorious Basterds screening was the early one, 8:30 am. To weed out the late sleepers, no doubt. Normally I do sleep through the morning screenings but this is Inglorious Basterds, The new QT flick. Takes place in Nazi occupied France. Tarantino’s most anticipated film in years. Won’t be out until August. This is going to be awesome. And it was, for the first 3 chapters, but then he went somewhere that I felt detracted from the momentum. It got too fantastical and the loopholes got to big.
Unlike the party which started out a bit slow, then picked up steam and finished with a… well not quite a bang, but a good buzz and a nice stroll along the Med to some other soiree on the beach to dance until sunrise.