Cannes is the most glamorous film festival in the world, but beneath the
hype there's a Cannes the public
rarely gets to see.
\"‘.’Oi(is: Miles Fielder Photographs: Anders Erden
In the Cannes
I'M APOLOGISING UPFRONT FOR OVERUSE of anecdotes and underttse of hard facts. But Cannes. the international film festival which transforms the (‘ote d‘.-\zure resort town each .\lay into an annual media circus. demands anecdote: you have to he there to believe how really. very crazy it is. I‘ve been going for eight years and it hits me every time.
What the world sees of (‘annes are the film stars exiting limos in tuxes and gowns. ascending the plush red-carpeted steps of the l’alais. stopping hricfly for photo calls on their way to watch a prime slice of world cinema. lilsewhere. you‘ll see the satne stars attending impossihly glamorous parties. on the heach or hotel rooftops. You get the hird‘s eye view and the inside scoop. llel/u magazine-style. via satellite television. But if you were there you‘d he left standing. a face in the crowd craning your neck to catch a glimpse of someone famous l()() yards away hehind a police harrier. (‘annes. more than almost any other place on liarth. is a hierarchy of the L‘illL‘.
But there‘s another (‘annes. The festival is only the dazzling tip of an iceherg. 'l‘here‘s also a market. and it‘s here. in swanky sea front hotels where rooms are converted into offices. that the film industry conducts its httsiness. I once overheard an American ‘suit‘ positioned as conspicuously as possihle outside his office. saying very loudly: 'So I flipped a dime with Larry in London for fifty grand.‘ Arse. But that‘s the way husiness is conducted in Cannes. Last
year. one company cut deals for upwards of
£75 million in just ten days. and these for
films you‘ll never see outside of a video store in Southeast Asia.
Anecdotes about these business creatures are amusing enough. and no less so the 'talent‘ peripheral to them. Only in Cannes could a
journalist find himself interviewing an ex-
kickhoxing champ-turned—soft porn/martial arts actress half an hour prior to asking a Buddhist monk why he‘s made a film about foothall.
And the movies‘.’ Alongside kung fu porn. you‘ll he assaulted with everything from the next arthouse and cult successes to German necrophilia porn and real—life executions videos.
If all this sounds cynical (hey. that‘s the film industry) there‘s genuine integrity to he found in hopeful. if often naive filmmakers.
Another anecdote: I once met a couple of
You'll be assaulted with everything from the next arthouse and cult successes to German necrophilia porn and real-life executions videos.
(‘anadian filmmakers looking a hit lost in a hotel corridor. let me guess.‘ I said. ‘you took a second mortgage and sold all of your possessions to make a movie. and now you‘re in (‘annes to sell it‘." 'llow‘d you know‘." they replied. There are a lot of people like this in (‘annesz invariath they find it more difficult to sell the film than make what almost hankrupted them financially and emotionally. What all this activity attracts to Cannes are thousands of memhers of the general public. who contrihute to creating a crazy carnival
atmosphere centred on the sea front promenade. l.a (‘roissette (‘rawl along this mile-long stretch of hotels and heach restaurants and you‘ll he humping shoulders with tourists tanned into a hrown-hlack crust. dripping with gold jewellery; huskers. artists. stall traders and prostitutes attempting to skim money off the loaded: shapely. Lycra—clad roller skating girls handing out flyers: elderly widows. caking their hi-tar cigarettes with gaudy lipstick. carrying yappy little dogs in handbags: as well as dejected mothers and children squatting on the pavement hegging. l was once set upon by a hand of waifs who clambered over me screaming hysterically their demand for cash. turning me into a kind of human tree amid the drifting tourists on the Croissette. [\r'leanwhile. Hollywood‘s x\~list were tucked up in their hotels little more than a stone's throw away.
01‘ course. they‘re all doing what everyone else is doing: trying to earn a living and looking at everyone else. The ‘turning heads‘ phenomenon is something to he seen in Cannes. You‘ll suddenly notice that everyone around you is swivelling their heads in the same direction like a school of fish hut when you trace the multitude of eyelines to their logical source. you see no one famous. no extraordinary publicity stunt. nothing. In a way. that stuns up (‘annesz a lot of people getting very excited at the drop of a hat. because. at arty moment. they could meet a famous film star. But. of course. that rarely
The 53rd Cannes Film Festival runs 10—21 May 2000.
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