All the buzz from Cannes as one of the greatest cinema events of the year is set to begin
Cannes Diary May 13
The day before opening night, all film festivals have a similar feel. So much looks unfinished that you wonder how it will ever get done in time, there is the palpable buzz of something big about to begin, people are gathering but the energy is muted almost as though everyone is conserving their strength for the overwhelming week to come.
The Cannes Film Festival is one of the greatest cinema events in the world. I first came here 20 years ago, in 1999 and have been addicted ever since. Every time I come, I’m in awe of what has been created here – an event that combines great movies with serious ‘dhanda’ and impossible glamour. The bling begins as soon as you land at the Nice airport – there will be at least a few women who look like they could be fashion models or actors, looking stylish even as they stand at the luggage belt. As I waited in line to pick up my festival badge, I spotted a man in a tux and wondered, why he was dressed up. The festival opens with a red carpet screening tomorrow!
This year the Cannes Film Festival runs from May 14th to 25th. There’s much to look forward to, starting with the opening film - Jim Jarmusch’s star-studded zombie horror The Dead Don’t Die. The film will be competing for the festival’s top prize – the Palme d’Or. The competition also includes big name auteurs including Xavier Dolan, Pedro Almodovar, Terence Malick, Bong Joon Ho, the Dardenne brothers and Ken Loach. This year, the festival is enforcing strict embargos on the competition films – critics can’t post reviews, articles, descriptors or even tweets about the film until the main screening at the Grand Theatre Lumiere is over. Over the years, filmmakers have discovered that Cannes can be brutal – booing is a festival tradition. In the pre-embargo days, press screenings were held in the morning of the red carpet premiere but by the evening, hostile reviews would already be out and stars and directors walked up the famed carpet knowing they were toast. There were rumors that Hollywood studios started to stay away from Cannes because it was simply too unpredictable. With embargos, the festival is hoping to contain this trend.
I think there will be some murmurs of dissent but the weather is terrific, the skies are blue and it promises to be a great festival. The only downer is that there isn’t a single Indian film in official selection. There’s plenty of Indian talent at the festival – from A-list stars like Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra to directors like Anurag Kashyap and Mira Nair. But not even one of our films made the cut. More from Cannes in the coming days. Watch this space.
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