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How I Survived the 62nd Cannes Film Festival – Episode II

And the Cannes (true) story continues

…as well as the awesomeness.

Episode II: Attack of the Celebrities
The following takes place between Monday, May 18, and Wednesday, May 20 2009.

Monday 18:
Not much happening on that day.
Except sleep.
I miss both Ken Loach’s Looking for Eric and Lars Von Trier’s Antichrist at the Grand Palais though.

Tuesday 19:
Another early wake-up at around 6AM to go see Almodóvar’s Broken Embraces.

The Grand Palais seems at first pretty empty, but since I don’t have a ticket for the early screening, I wait as usual in the last-minute access line.
Turns out, lots of peeps with tickets were waiting until the last minute to enter the theatre, so it gets pretty full pretty quick.
Fortunately, I learn that at every 8:30AM screening, a second one occurs at the Salle du Soixantième (The Soixantième Theatre) around 9AM. Although it was gonna change for the next days, at that time not a lot of people knew about that second screening, so I successfully enter the Salle du Soixantième.

I should point out at this time that there are about 6 different “main” theatres for the Cannes festival. The first is obviously the biggest, the Grand Théâtre Lumière. After that, it’s all relatively small theatres, albeit the Debussy Theatre, which is more or less a miniature Grand Palais, followed by Buñuel Theatre. The Salle du Soixantième is a classic theatre which can old 300 or so people and in my opinion is the best after the Grand Palais if you can get a good middle seat.
As for Embraces, the movie was good, certainly one of Almodovar’s best in my opinion. Surprisingly, Penélope Cruz has a small role in it.
Speaking of, poor Penélope Cruz is sick with the flu (not that flu) so chances are she’s not going to the Broken Embraces party. We decide not to go to it.
In the afternoon, I head again to the Salle du Soixantième, waiting in line to see the controversial Antichrist.
The story is of a couple that retires to a cabin in the middle of a forest after the death of their newborn son.
A lot has been said about this movie.
One thing you cannot deny is that the movie contains very graphic images of “torture”, but let’s just say, it’s not at all like Hostel.
At. All.
At least here you can make sense why Lars von Trier chose those specific “torture” elements. Arguably some parts were deliberately put there to shock the Cannes audience (the third shot of the movie is a slow-mo penetration), and the graphic images are pretty much over-done, but still, unlike some movies, the atrocious actions have their reasons to be regarding the characters’ psyche.
Apart from that, the photography is absolutely magnificent. I especially loved the prologue and epilogue, as well as the first chapter (the movie is divided in four).
Moving on to a few hours after a lengthy discussion, I get a ticket for Marco Bellocchio’s Vincere at the Grand Palais.
When you get a ticket for a Grand Palais screening, one thing you will do is walk up the red carpet. If you time well your entrance, you might run in with some famous people (although that’s a pretty hazardous way of entering a theatre).
Anyway, I do walk up on the red carpet like I did for Bak-Jwi, and since I have nothing better to do, I take this wonderful picture on top of the stairs:

I then enter the theatre, take my place and watch the live red-carpet feed and the entrance of the Cannes jury, including Isabelle Huppert and Robin Wright Penn.

The cast and crew enters, standing ovation, and then the movie begins.
Vincere tells the story of Mussolini’s secret lover, Ida Dalser, and their son Albino. Ida is played beautifully by Giovanna Mezzogiorno (whom I was rooting for to get the best actress prize — but didn’t get since Huppert was heading the jury). Riccardo Giagni’s score is absolutely brilliant. Overall, one of the best movie in the competition. A shame it didn’t get anything.
For a better and more complete review of this great film, I suggest you head on to here.
Yet again afterwards, we rush to the buses to not miss the last one of the night.

Wednesday 20:
The day everyone has been waiting for: Inglourious Basterds day.
Similarly to Broken Embraces, I expect a second screening around 9AM at the Salle du Soixantième. I arrive at 6:40AM in front of the empty gates.

Unsurprisingly, I’m first.
And so I wait, and wait, and wait.
Until it is time for us to enter the theatre, but, oh wait!
A horde of journalists come barging in out of nowhere, having freshly arrived mere minutes before the beginning of the screening.
And they get to enter before us!
No harm done for me as the first 10 people in line also get to enter, and since I’m first…
Regarding the movie itself, expect a review in the next few days if I’m not too lazy (“Because we love making movies!”).
But suffice it to say, 2h40 is too long.
Also, Christoph Waltz so deserved the best actor award he got.
Lots of unimportant stuff happens on that day, but what you’ve been surely waiting for is the night part of the story.
By that I obviously mean the private Inglourious Basterds party.
Now, to enter, you needed to be on a special list.
We successfully enter the magnificent beach party, this thing is huge! There are like 5 places to be with the piano lounge, the dance-floor, the beach, the dock, etc.

br />I would say 200 or so (“important”) people were here, perhaps more, including (from who I saw) the Weinstein brothers, Oliver Stone, Wilem Daffoe, Charlotte Gainsbourg with Yvan Attal, etc.

Obviously the whole cast of Inglourious Basterds was here, and I mean everyone, such as Diane Kruger, Christoph Waltz, Samm Levine, BJ Novak (with whom I make small talk), and of course Brad Pitt (who left pretty early the party).

The dance floor is epic, Quentin Tarantino is completely drunk and is dancing some kind of weird tribal-like dance…with ice cubes. Go figure.
While I’m live-twiterring, I look up for a sec and who’s 5 inches from me? Joshua Jackson. I then realise he’s here because he’s with (the sublime) Diane Kruger.
Well, I’m not gonna spend 10 hours telling you every second of this epic party.
I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.

End of Episode II.

On the final part of our epic Cannes story, Episode III, you will learn the truth about Thursday (spoiler alert: nothing much happened that day), Friday, where I see both Terry Gilliam and his Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, as well as Haneke’s Das Weisse Band (future Palme d’Or winner) and Suleiman’s The Time That Remains, Saturday, with Gaspar Noé’s magical Enter the Void, and my last Sunday in Cannes in which I finally got to see Audiard’s A Prophet.

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