Right this very moment, everyone who is anyone in the movie business is at the Cannes Film Festival. If you have never been to the bachannalia of all things film, then you have not been to the annual circus of the film industry, which is taking place this year from the 12th-23rd of May.
I have been lucky enough to go with friends who work in the business four of the past seven years, and I can tell you that it is crazy, busy, glamorous, fun, and out of this world.
Along the Croisette, people walk to and fro, wearing dark sunglasses and looking important. Was that Sharon Stone who just passed us? Yes, of course, she goes every year. Quentin Tarantino getting out of a limousine? Yes, that was him, he was a member of the jury a few years back.
Besides the films being shown (and during the ten-day festival this could be upwards of 1000+), there are almost half the number of parties going on. At Cannes there are parties everywhere - right on the beach, in the hotels, on yachts, just about anywhere there is a plug for a DJ (or a generator). The most glamorous parties take place at Hotel Du Cap, a very exclusive hotel 30 minutes from Cannes. Good luck getting into a party there.
And besides film premiere parties, there are also parties to raise money for charities, film studio parties, and the final party - the awards show, held on the last day of the festival. But if you don’t know anyone at the festival, you will be shut out of all of the events. The friends I've joined usually put me to work helping with their events, which means I've been to parties with Matt Damon and George Clooney (promoting Ocean's Thirteen), handed out Louis Vuitton luggage to Elton John and David Furnish during a live auction, and directed Selma Hayek to the loo.
One year I saw 12 films in one week, which is not really a lot, but you have to realize that there are way so many things to do in Cannes. At a few of the films I saw, several people walked out before the film was finished, even though the directors/producers/actors were in the audience. This is the shame that is Cannes. If you don't like a film, you can easily catch another, as films are shown continuously from morning until late on 20 or so screens spread throughout the small city. Last year there were 999 films and 47 shorts shown.
Films in Competition this year include British Director Mike Leigh’s Another Year (a movie about life), starring Jim Broadbent and Imelda Staunton, plus 17 films from other countries. Judges this year include director Tim Burton and British actress Kate Beckinsale.
Films Out of Competition this year include Robin Hood (which had it’s premiere on the 12th of May with Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett walking up the red carpet of the Palais), Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, and Woody Allen’s You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, which stars Josh Brolin, Anthony Hopkins, Naomi Watts Frieda Pinto, and Antonio Banderas.
Older films are shown on a huge screen on the beach every night (Cinema de la Plage), the only films during the festival that non-credentialed members of the public can view.
And now all I can say is that I wish I was there again!