Day 5 at Cannes began with the 8.30 am sprint. To get a reasonable seat at the day’s first screening, you have to be at the theatre a good half hour earlier. So you get there at 8, find a seat, and then spend the next hour thinking about the breakfast you never had. But today’s morning screening was more than worth the sprint: Mike Leigh’s Another Year, a poignant portrait of love and loneliness.
Remember the name Lesley Manville. My guess is that the actress is going to walk away with a trophy for her searing performance as Mary, a desperately sad and lonely woman. Of course, the scrambling for seats took another dimension for the next screening: Woody Allen’s You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger. The French love Woody Allen, and there was a frantic rush at the theatre entrance. Everyone pushed and shoved without apology.
British critic Derek Malcolm, who was being tossed back and forth in front of me exclaimed: ‘You’d think after 40 years they’d find a better way to do this but obviously not.’ The film itself was bittersweet and slight. I was, of course, eager to see Freida Pinto for the first time after Slumdog Millionaire. Here she plays Dia, a young Indian girl who becomes the muse of her writer-neighbour, who is struggling with his next novel. She looked ravishing and that was pretty much all she was required to do.
Anupam Kher also got a few minutes of screen time as her father. Freida has great screen presence but I wonder when she will get a project that actually tests her acting chops. After the morning double-bill, we headed to a gorgeous villa near the swanky Hotel Du Cap, where director Brett Ratner is staying.
Ratner, whose films, combined, have grossed over one billion dollars, talked enthusiastically about his remixed version of Kites. The man behind films like the Rush Hour series and X-Men says he is “in bed with Bollywood.” Next, he wants to make a buddy-cop movie with Hrithik Roshan and a major American star!
As we scrambled from one location and screening to another, it struck me that Cannes is a film festival where movies are only one of the many options. In fact, some people don’t watch the movies at all. There is as much going on outside the theatres as there is inside them.
So at the Cannes Film Market, in the basement of the Palais, there is hectic pitching and trading. Behind, in the international village, the various country pavilions (essentially promotional offices) are located.But the festival extends far beyond the Palais, down the row of hotels along the Croisette – the Majestic, Carlton, Palais Stephanie and Martinez are all hubs of activity.
The beachfront often has live entertainment – I even saw a man with a show dog on a tiny scooter. There are hundreds of tiny restaurants, and for those who want a total break from the movies, check out the Rue Antibes, a beautiful boutique-filled street.
Then, there are half a dozen parties every night. These can range from low-key cocktails to high-end bashes like the Vanity Fair party held at the Hotel du Cap.
Naturally then, sleep and sit-down meals are strictly for wimps. Cannes is a 24-hour festival. The only question is: how much can you squeeze into one day?
The writer hosts Picture This on NDTV 24X7