Marshall Takes Cannes: Day 1

18 05 2012

Sorry, guys.  It’s been pretty overwhelming getting used to life in the Cannes Film Festival, and I’ve come back the past two nights from screenings past midnight with the intention of writing something … but have then quickly fallen into bed.  I’m working on 5-6 hours of sleep each night, which can be quite lethal to moviewatching.  Even in the movies I’ve loved like “Rust and Bone,” I found myself drifting off at the beginning just from sheer exhaustion.  I’ll try to be better, so my hope is that I can churn out this piece pretty quickly and then hit the hay.  The goal for tomorrow is to get into the 8:30 A.M. press screening of “Lawless,” which means waiting in a rush line beginning around 7:00 A.M.  Party!

Anyways, here come some pictures and plenty of stories!

Day 1 – Wednesday, May 16

I spent my first afternoon in Cannes running around the Palais du Festival, the big building where most of the major festival events occur, trying to find an entry into the 3:00 P.M. press screening of “Moonrise Kingdom.”  To give you a sense of just how massive this place is, just take a look at the picture below and know that my iPhone hardly captures the scope of it.  Some people affectionately call it “the Death Star,” and I have to say, that’s a pretty apt description.  It’s room after room, hall after hall, theater after theater, making the Palais one heck of a cumbersome place to navigate.

I couldn’t find a non-blocked entrance, so I just gave up and went to a Market screening of “Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap.”  Another cool thing about the Cannes Film Festival that many, including myself until recently, might not know is that there is also a concurrent market for buying and selling films in all stages of production.  Some international rights are being sold to blockbusters like “Catching Fire,” which is still in pre-production … and then there are screenings of films like “Silent House” and “Casa de Mi Padre,” which opened in the US months ago but are still seeking international distributors.  The Marché du Film (Cannes Film Market) sees thousands upon thousands of transactions, and it provides an excellent opportunity for cinephiles like me to piggyback onto their business and see some movies that won’t come stateside for a while.

So my first Marché screening (and as of right now, also the only) was definitely interesting.  Like I said in the intro, I fell asleep intermittently throughout the first 45 minutes, which was miraculous given how booming the sound was coming from the screen showing Ice T’s documentary.  I’ll save my more detailed opinions for a full review coming later, but the short form review is this: I don’t doubt Ice T’s passion, but he clearly needed someone to help him edit and refine his fascination in a more appropriate cinematic way.

Then I got great news … I won a ticket to see the 11:00 P.M. showing of “Moonrise Kingdom” in the Lumiere theater, Cannes’ 2300-seat theater which will forever put every other moviegoing experience to shame.  Only this theater requires an “invitation,” as they call it, and proper attire must be worn or the Fashion Police (actual people, not Joan Rivers the morning after the Oscars) will wag a finger at you and turn you away.  Even if you do have this, your clothing is more important:

I had never seen a movie from a balcony before, so I was glad to receive an education in how they did this back in the good old days.  Not to mention because of the mammoth nature of the Lumiere, the filmmakers come into the theater in the wee hours of the morning to calibrate the picture and sound especially for the screening.  So in other words, the movies I get to see in the Lumiere are exactly as the director wants me to see them.  Crazy, right?!  Here’s my view of the screen from the balcony on Wednesday night:

And as if the experience weren’t already magical enough, each Cannes screening begins with this bumper, accompanied by the music from “Aquarium” by Camille Saint-Saens that I already associate with magic and enchantment.  (Start the video below at 0:35.)

Oh, and I forgot to mention that I WALKED THE RED CARPET.  The same red carpet that Wes Anderson had walked with Bruce Willis, Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton, and Bill Murray just a few hours earlier!  I saw their numerous photo opportunities from not too far away and even snapped a few pictures of my own.  The highlight of the whole thing was Edward Norton lingering for easily a minute after everyone else on the steps of the Palais to just be goofy.

And then I got to walk it myself, which was INCREDIBLE to say the least.  If only hundreds of other people weren’t rushing the steps for their own photo opportunity, I might have felt like a celebrity myself.  But regardless of that, it was still pretty freaking cool.  Oh, and don’t buy all the illusions you get from seeing these images of movie stars walking the red carpet – it’s actually not very long and there are very few steps.

 

Oh, and the movie was good too, I guess.

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