As I stroll along "The Croisette" in Cannes listening to the multitude of languages being spoken, watching the waves of the Mediterranean lap the shores just behind the swarm of activity of the festival, it really does not disappoint. No matter how much hype you have heard, The Cannes Film Festival or Festival De Cannes is grand and glamorous and truly international. There are so many sublime films, both big and small from 26 countries that are represented here this year, it is impressive.
All of the festival aficionados say this is the worst weather they have in over 15 years. Of course, it is my first time here and the rain has not dampened my spirits or my fun. Being a neophyte, I am new to the terms, The Croisette, The Palais, Hotel Du Cap, etc. You start to learn very quickly that there is a "Cannes speak" and in order not to appear completely green you must pick up on it very fast. However, I have the good fortune of going to the press office, an amazing beehive of activity, and asking all of my newbie questions there. I also have many friends here who are taking sympathy on me and also helping me along.
The two words most heard for the festival this year are love, since that is the dominant theme of so many movies represented here - and rain, as I mentioned earlier and will say more on later. There is a film called AMOUR, literally love - a harrowing look at love from a couple in their eighties dealing with aging and dementia by Michael Haneke, an acclaimed Austrian director.
And then onto rain - no one can believe the weather but it doesn't seem to stop most from going about their business. I am of course, one of those. I was invited to a dinner and had the forethought to ask the hotel if I needed to order a taxi since it was raining. I was assured I did not and I could easily get a taxi when I was ready to leave. This was not to be. When I went to the front desk shortly before my dinner, they said all taxis were busy and the wait could be up to an hour. The walk was only 15 minutes so I decided to brave the downpour with my friend, buying an umbrella along the way, only after negotiating it down from 10 Euros to 2 Euros 50, much to my friend's dismay since it was pouring down rain on us. The heels I was wearing, which were modest in comparison to most of the crazy 5 plus inch goat heels most of the women wear here, were slipping and sliding and I feared I would end up on my backside so I took them off and hurried barefoot for many blocks along The Croisette to the dinner. I made it on time and was quite refreshed from splashing barefoot through the rain and my friend was in good humor by then having witnessed all. The dinner was again a testament to the many countries, passionate filmmakers, executives and international denizens who make film a reality around the world.
The Palm d'Or will be awarded on Sunday and the jurors who decide the winners are Ewan McGregor, Diane Kruger, Hiam Abbass and Emmanuelle Devos and film-makers Alexander Payne, Andrea Arnold, Raoul Peck and Moretti along with wild card juror, French designer, Jean Paul Gaultier. I cannot imagine the gargantuan task they have in front of them but for us, we will all be able to see many a beautiful story emanating from the celluloid of this particular festival.
I have two more days to go and am excited to see what else will happen in Cannes. And hopefully before the festival is over, I can learn how to catch a taxi seeing that up until now whenever I have tried, even the empty ones snub me.
I guess that is something only the veterans of Cannes know how to do and they aren't sharing that secret with me.