So I walked the red carpet,right behind Wes Anderson,Bruce Willis,Bill Murray,Tilda Swinton and gang,all there for the opening. Okay,Im kidding. Much before the shiny luminaries who are here for the 65th edition of the Cannes Film Festival took their bows,we were safely inside the Grand Palais,all the way up in the balcony,reserved for the plebs,and the not-so-important people. The Palais is very grand indeed,more like an opera house,and from where I am seated,the stage is very far below. But hey,Im not complaining. The opening ceremony seats are so coveted and given out with such miserliness that it matters not where one is seated; it matters that one is inside,breathing in the excitement. Berenice Bejo,the Cannes equivalent of the diya girl,and who is familiar to us from her lovely peppy silent turn in the multi-Oscar winner The Artist,delivers a long paean in French. To those of us who do not understand the language,it is time out to look for famous faces all the way below. Theres Nanni Moretti,head of jury. And the dishy Ewan McGregor. And Jean Paul Gaultier,the designer who dabbles,very seriously,in film. And Alexander Payne,the filmmaker who made Merlot a worldwide phenomenon,and whose last film The Descendants was a serious Oscar contender. And all those others who will be here for the next ten days,watching the films in the competition at the worlds most buzzy film fest,which mixes glamour and work,like only the French can.
Big ticket yet indie spirit
The opening film,Moonrise Kingdom,is
Wes Andersons latest. And it turns out to be a good choice for an opener. It is big-ticket Hollywood enough. And it is indie-spirited enough. Good combo. All about a pair of twelve-year-olds in the UK in the 60s,who fall in love,and whose relationship throws their community in a tizzy. Im not giving out any more spoilers. The film has been acquired for an India distribution,and will release soon.
See how she glows
From all the billboards,gigantic posters of the most glamourous girl in the universe stare down at us. Marilyn Monroe lives. The picture of her,in glorious black and white,blowing out a candle on her birthday cake,tells you why she is so unforgettable. Shes been shot in a limo,holding the cake,eyes downcast. No studio backlighting. No touch-ups by makeup artists. But see how she glows. This is not the first time Monroe has been a poster girl for the Cannes film festival. She was there in 1980 and 81,in quick succession. Then in 2004. And now again. She is timeless. So are the movies.
Where time stands still
Its daylight till late in the evening. And the stretch of the Croisette,which is the focus of all the action,is a swarm of delegates,and the worlds press,and all those hopefuls who hang around the Palais for tickets to a film. Any film. I get accosted by a pair of girls who look as if theyve just strolled off the ramp when they see the entry tickets in my hand,and then turn to the person behind me. To one side is the red carpet,which is not very long in the length,but once you are on it,time seems to stand still,even when you are rushing ahead. Lingering is not an option because the ushers are not going to let you. Even for veterans,it can be a heady moment. I get mine. My red sari matches the carpet. I pose for a picture. And preserve it for posterity.