Let the games begin – En route to Cannes
I spent a few days in Paris before heading down to the Festival, and I am so glad I did. Aside from having the opportunity to acclimatise to speaking French, it has given me a view of how big a deal Cannes’ annual shindig is to France as a whole, and understandably so. Cannes is the preeminent film festival in the world, and enormous effort and promotion is put into making sure the screenings and parties run smoothly, peopled by the creme de la creme, and that the awards given out at the end of 12 days carry critical as well as commercial import (though let’s be honest, the former leads also to the latter).
There are posters all over Paris, with Marilyn’s youthful face resplendant in black and white as she blows out candles on the Festival’s presumptive 65th birthday cake. Notably, there are also film posters up already, advertising the imminent theatrical release of many of the main movies, as little as two days after their Cannes premiere! The lucky French. They knew what to snap up immediately.
So it has given me quite a thrill to anticipate Walter Salles’ On the Road, and Cronenberg’s latest, an adaptation of Don Delillo’s Cosmopolis with vamp-boy, Robert Pattinson (oh, I must stop referring to Twilight and let him move on). Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom interests me more for its cast of Frances McDormand (Fargo) and Edward Norton than its promise of another piece of comedic whimsy (complete with Bill Murray – does anyone else actually give Murray work anymore?). But I am most excited about seeing NZ-born director Andrew Dominik’s Killing Me Softly, his second outing with Brad Pitt since the excellent The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (yes, I do say the whole title each time I mention that film). I have tried to play the fellow-Kiwi card in attempting to secure an interview with Dominik, despite the fact it would seem from internet bios that the Aussies have claimed him, but to no avail. His third feature film is In Competition, and if he wins it will be two in a row for Pitt whose The Tree of Life took home the Palme D’or last year. (To clarify, Pitt acted, Mallick directed – must give credit where it’s due.) And then there is the latest bound-to-be-amazing from Jacques Audiard (beloved for The Beat My Heart Skipped and the recent A Prophet). Rust and Bone promises Marion Coitillard and some Belgian chap everyone is in a flutter about, in the type of excoriating relationship drama that Audiard does best. What could be more exciting!
So the magazines and newspapers here are full of two things: their new President (Francois Hollande was sworn in yesterday but I did not go to the Champs Elysees to catch a glimpse), and of course the Festival. Talk about whetting appetites and raising expectations.
My train gets into Cannes this afternoon, in time for me to head straight to the press area and collect my pack, with its all-important pass and orange lanyard. The train is laden with people heading to the Festival in one capacity or another, but what’s curious is many are just families “en vacances” who are going in the hope of snaring a celebrity for a photo. The opening film is just after 7pm tonight, so I will have to find a place to stake out the red carpet (from behind the cordon, obviously, doubtless with my fellow travellers) and report back on who I see.
A tout a l’heure!