White card entry
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White card entry

Finding a seat at the screening of Terrence Malick’s mad and magnificent The Tree of Life, was courtesy the Cannes journalist classification system

hollywood Updated: May 18, 2011 13:49 IST
Anupama Chopra
Anupama Chopra
Hindustan Times


There are 4000 journalists at Cannes and the mysterious Cannes journalist classification system deems which of us are more worthy than others. So green cards are usually given to technicians, blue to first-timers at Cannes, pink to journalists who have proved their worth with good coverage of the festival, pink with a pastille to journalists who have done excellent coverage over several years; and the holy grail of accreditation is the white press card. It’s so rare that you hardly ever see it. Only a few critics in the world have this including Roger Ebert.

Journalists discreetly check out each other’s cards. I have the pink with pastille and when I asked a fellow journalist how long it would take to graduate to the all-pass white card, I was told, “darling, you just have to age into it.” But pink with pastille is good enough for me.

This morning, it helped me get a seat at the hugely crowded first screening of Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life. The screening was scheduled to start at 8.30 am but by 7.50 am, there was an absolute crush on the Croisette. I ran into the pink line and rushed through. Incredibly, much of the gigantic Lumiere theatre was full. Tree of Life is the reclusive Malick’s fifth film in 38 years and cinephiles waited with bated breath for it to unveil. The film didn’t disappoint. It was stunning, overwhelming and not entirely decipherable. It was greeted with both applause and boos, but the major critics seemed to love it. Peter Bradshaw gave it five stars, calling it: mad and magnificent.

At the press conference that followed, Brad Pitt talked about Malick’s working method. He said that Malick was a man with a butterfly net waiting to catch the moment of truth as it went by. So you didn’t stick to the script but created as you went along. He said that working with Malick was a leap of faith. But he knew that he was in safe hands. At one point, a journalist asked Pitt, why as one of the biggest stars in the world, he didn’t create more tent pole, superhero-type movies but instead focused on these personal, less commercial projects. Pitt said that it is necessary for him to discover new things but he wasn’t ruling out the tent pole yet. “Don’t count me out of Mission Impossible,” he said, “I’m not so highbrow.” And yes, for those interested, he is still as sexy, as he used to be!

The writer hosts Picture This on NDTV 24 X 7

First Published: May 18, 2011 13:46 IST