There’s nothing quite like Cannes. There is a palpable buzz in the air. The line for accreditation badges spills out onto the street. There is frantic activity on the Croisette and every one walks to and fro with an air of fierce determination. It’s heady and exciting and honestly, no other festival in the world quite matches it.
The beauty of the Cannes Film Festival is that it manages to perfectly walk the line between art and commerce. So the festival premieres some of the best films made in the year and sets the agenda for art house cinema, and yet it’s impossibly glamorous. The red carpet, the photographers in tuxedos, the high star-wattage and the gorgeous Cote d’Azur Sea makes this an irresistibly chic festival. In fact it’s hard to find a badly dressed person at the Palais.
Even hard-nosed critics somehow start to look presentable. On day one, the action all seemed to be at the Martinez Hotel, the last in the long line of hotels at the Croisette. Saif Ali Khan and Minishha Lamba were being outfitted to walk the carpet for Chivas Regal. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan was on duty for L’Oreal (accompanied by mother Vrinda) and just when we paused to take a breath, Woody Allen casually strolled by in the lobby.
The 64th Cannes Film Festival kicked off with his romantic comedy, Midnight In Paris but the legendary director didn’t seem nervous at all. He walked the red carpet flanked by his leading men Owen Wilson and Adrien Brody. My favourite moment of the opening ceremony was the minutes-long standing ovation for Robert de Niro, the president of the main competition jury.
He kept saying thank you but the applause didn’t stop. Cannes is also special because it truly is a global melting pot of cinema. Yes, Hollywood stars generate the most frenzy but there is also room here for Jafar Panahi’s This Is Not A Film and 3D Sex and Zen Extreme Ecstasy, the world’s first 3D erotic film, which broke Avatar’s record in Hong Kong for highest grossing opening weekend. Every cinematic taste is accommodated. The Cannes Film Festival is a 12-day-long movie feast. There is always, too much to savor and too little time.
The writer hosts Picture This on NDTV 24 X 7