lundi 17 mai 2010

Yes we Cannes

Our friends David and Jessica were here visiting this week and Jessica wanted to see Cannes during the film festival. So off we went, she and I, to get our fill of glamour.

Cannes is, a la base, a little seaside town-turned-festival city. The old town (including castle) perches on top of a peninsula that juts out into the sea beside a little port.

On the other side of the port is the main festival pavilion—location of the official red carpet.

Then stretching along the beach is the town: a mix of fancy hotels, like the “Hotel Splendid”:

And of course the Ritz-Carlton, where lots of les stars stay, apparently.

Did we bump into any of the famous people who were at the film festival (Woody Allen, Cate Blanchett, Tim Burton. . .)? Nope, not unless you count George and Brad.

We determined pretty quickly that the celebrities only come out at night. I pointed out to Jessica that this was like cockroaches. I had bugs on the brain with the whole termite/scorpion/cockroach/landlord-not-concerned-enough-about-it situation. Anyway, I don’t blame them (the celebrities); there are tourists everywhere and they would get swamped, plus, I think they’re there to promote their films to other industry people and go to official events, not party. Aside from the gawking tourists, the atmosphere of the festival was just like that of a big convention for any industry—people in business clothes coming and going and grabbing business lunches and talking on cell phones. We could tell who was connected to the festival because they all had lanyards with ID cards on them and a “we’re doing important work” look in their eyes. As opposed to the people not connected to the festival, who had a “we’re hoping we run into George Clooney” look in their eyes.

There’s no way for someone unconnected to the festival to get into the films short of begging, which dozens of people were doing in front of the theatre, holding up signs pleading for tickets. As far as I can tell, though, the other movie theatres in town show a different selection that is still loosely affiliated with the festival. We started to walk to one of these other theatres, where a French friend had told us we would be able to see a film for free (!) and people associated with it would probably be there (actors, directors, etc.). On the way to the theatre, we ended up roaming around the old city, and stopped at the castle on a hill, and decided that the town was too interesting to spend half of our remaining 4 hours sitting cooped up in a theatre. So we walked back through town, along the main (shopping) street.

It was a pretty weird mix of shops—the normal “high-street” brands (like Zara and Mango) peppered with pretty high-end retailers. Nothing über-fancy, though. I think that stuff is carefully tucked away from gawking tourists. We DID find a second-hand shop with red-carpet-worthy duds—and oh, how I love this dress.

I would wear it if I were going to make a red-carpet entrance. Although it’s probably out of the budget of a humble English teacher—the frock hanging next to it was Lanvin and I think the shoes were some equally haute marque.

After strolling around town a bit and getting caught in a rain shower (luckily we’d brought umbrellas, thank you MeteoFrance for being right for once in your weather predictions) we went past the festival pavilion again. . .

And saw everyone set up to photograph the stars as they arrived for the evening’s events. I think those are all photographers (or at least very determined and devoted fans) under those umbrellas.

Earlier in the day we’d seen the ranks of ladders set up for strategic picture-taking.

I think the “real” photographers with press passes get to go into a special cordoned-off area. We waited and watched for a while perched on a wall across the street. I think we were just too early for anyone in evening wear, although we saw some people not dressed like celebrities coming in and out.

But we had to catch our bus, and the two hours of sitting were still not enough to erase the fatigue of a full day of walking. So, tired, damp, and chilly, we got home to our unglamorous but warm apartment with a husband waiting for each of us. After pretending that we’d seen Russell Crowe, we fessed up that all we’d seen was the town and lots and lots of people with lanyards. The celebrities only come out at night, I told Josh. “Oh,” he said, “like cockroaches.”

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