Cannes you believe it? An outsider’s view.
May 22, 2011 1 Comment
If you’ve (perfectly reasonably – this is a film blog after all) come expecting tales of red carpet exclusivity and festival shenanigans, I am sorry to say you’ve come to the wrong place. With the sole exception of Midnight in Paris (which I paid, like, money to see), I didn’t see any of the films in competition at the 64th Annual Cannes Film Festival. I didn’t even see a single famous person. Nevertheless, I experienced enough of a buzz from the neighbouring beach to count my trip a relative success and chalk it all down to experience.
Leaving the windswept wind of Edinburgh for the 10:30am flight to Nice, I donned sunglasses and the most tragic wicker hat I could find and set wing for the south of France. With a day to kill before I was scheduled to pick up my press pass, I sampled the local cuisine and made myself at home in the local ice cream parlour(s). You see, the Riviera doesn’t believe in vanilla. Like a nation with bona fide taste buds, France boasts a borderline obsessive collection of ice cream flavours; if the Scottish will deep fry it, chances are the French will cream it.
Anyway, Cannes. I arrived on Friday, May 13, having navigated the local train service BY MYSELF, and with enough Euros to buy myself a whole toothbrush, I set about texting my contacts to arrange a swap: my carbon dioxide for their press pass. Assured that I was on their press list, this somehow didn’t necessitate that I was on the official press list. Told by the accreditation office that my name was nowhere on file, I decided to tour the local cinemas to see if I could catch any of the moves as a member of the puny public. Not. Even.
What a total, complete bummer. Then again, as I threw my strop and exercised my bottom lip in an infantile attempt to earn a sympathy pass (this never worked in “Toys ‘R’ Us” so Aslan only knows how I was executing it to work elsewhere) it suddenly dawned on me that I was disappointed that I couldn’t spend my holiday – the first I had taken in over four years – sitting in a dark cinema instead of enjoying one of the coast beautiful stretches of coast in the world. Massively conscious of the fact that everyone who was not me sported a shiny lanyard around their not mine necks, I opted to take my sun burn back to Nice where I could enjoy my vacation shrouded in denial.
Pecan, Pistachio, Pina-Colada, Chewing Gum, Strawberry, Coffee, Yoghurt, Coca-Cola, Peanut M&M, Ferrero Rocher and Nutella flavoured ice cream later, I contented myself with delicious food, great weather and an opportunity to rediscover the joys of roller blading on a surface other than cobbled Aberdonian streets.
It wasn’t all uncinematic either, the non U.K. locale afforded me the opportunity to watch Midnight in Paris, a film currently without British distribution. It was a great film, packing a great twist that I genuinely didn’t see coming, and finally justifying the existence of Owen Wilson. While not the movie marathon I had planned on, it, combined with the foreign poster-fest and enthusiastic throng of Cannes (I had only been in the city minutes when I passed a group of suited men discussing a “fantastic” script they had just read), proved a creative boost in a year overcrowded with piracy checks and nacho cheese; once again I was out from behind the counter and loving it.
So while I may not have had the chance to see Melancholia, The Tree of Life or We Need To Talk About Kevin – and although the experienced only served to emphasise how much further I have to go in order to count myself a real-life journalist – it showed me exactly how not to go about it next year. And I even have a tan.