Hollywood’s gotha and French charm… A perfect match on the Croisette. This 74th meeting, which puts French directors and women in the spotlight, is placed under the sign of renewal: the red carpets make you forget a white year for the Festival, and black for the 7th art. From the front row seats and backstage, highlights of an edition unlike any other.
We are always a beginner in Cannes, when we go up the steps. Even when you’re Sophie Marceau, a star for forty years. The first time she came to the Festival… Sophie was in college. It was for “La boum” by Claude Pinoteau. “I was very quickly immersed in the world of facial recognition,” she laughs. Today, she defends the colors of “Everything went well”, by François Ozon. And this is again a first time. First official selection for the most popular actress in France but who does not necessarily feel comfortable with her peers. Yes, “everything went well”, as the title of the film announces. After such a long absence, Sophie has regained her “desire for cinema”, as she says. And even that of “the perlimpinpin powder”, this magic of the red carpet and the pretty dress that make “young girls dream”. She forgot the few setbacks she suffered at the Festival: “It’s a comeback, yes,” she declares, “but it’s above all a privilege to be there, to finally share with others. others after such a hard period. “
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This Festival is first and foremost that of women, strong women, those who aroused emotions and sensations during this first week. What was admirable? The speech of Jodie Foster, who came with his wife, Alexandra Hedison, to receive a Palme d’honneur but above all to affirm her pleasure to “come out at last”. The touching achievements of Charlotte Gainsbourg to highlight her mother, Jane Birkin, and of Valérie Lemercier to magnify her idol, Céline Dion. But also the performances of Virginie Efira, even if her lesbian nun, Benedetta, did not create the expected scandal, of Marion Cotillard, of Camille Cottin giving the reply to Matt Damon, or of Catherine Deneuve, well recovered from an accident cerebrovascular disease, which occurred almost two years ago. As the legend is hailed, she was cheered for several minutes as she entered the screening room.
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Among the nine members of the jury of this 74th Festival, five are women: Mylène Farmer, red-haired singer, iconic and cinephile. Tired of her 5am jog being disrupted by fans, she had a treadmill mounted in her suite at the Martinez Hotel. She is sharp, literally and figuratively, a woman of convictions, like directors Mati Diop, Jessica Hausner and Mélanie Laurent or actress Maggie Gyllenhaal.
Thirty-three French productions represent more than a third of the films shown. David Lisnard, mayor of the city and administrator of the Festival, welcomes this, but hopes the return of films from around the world in the next edition. He has worked hard to ensure that it takes place in July, the only possible window of fire, the two cancellations of the previous May having deprived his city of about 400 million euros of economic benefits: “When has emerged May 2021, I had the impression of reliving “One endless day”, he explains. We worked on protocols that made it possible to preserve life and humanity from life. You couldn’t stay holed up and live like cockroaches indefinitely. “
Luxury brands but also film distributors organize dinners on beaches or pontoons, but for an infinitely smaller number of guests.
Since 1951, the most important media event after the Olympic Games has indeed taken place in May. July… the decor remains the same, but the atmosphere is transformed. The usual hysteria gives way to a kind of sweetness, the scent of Solar Amber. In broad daylight, swimsuits and flip flops rub shoulders with tuxedos and evening dresses. At the newsstand on the Croisette, a producer is preceded at the cash desk by a toddler with arms loaded with buckets and shovels. They smile at each other. Neither the rooms nor the hotels are full: 22,000 accredited only this year against 40,000 in 2019. Much less journalists and distributors from abroad and especially from Asia. The beaches of the big hotels, usually squatted by brands, have been returned to tourists. Seaside restaurants, deckchairs and umbrellas, improvised volleyball matches, rather than chain interviews, starlets and petits fours. There will be no big party at Eden Roc, not even the famous AmfAR gala, which took refuge not far away, villa Eilenroc, where singer Alicia Keys will perform.
“I had warned that July would be complicated,” explains Philippe Perd, the director of the legendary palace. We are almost full. Ninety-eight percent of our loyal clientele returned for the holidays. To preserve it, it was impossible to install the usual crane necessary for the assembly of this large barnum intended to receive 400 guests. Next year, in May, we will be very happy to host this wonderful auction to raise funds for AIDS research. In the meantime, Philippe Perd receives Steven Spielberg and his wife, Kate Capshaw, who have arrived aboard their 86-meter yacht, almost incognito.
Cannes at the time of the Covid is not so easy to live with
Cannes would have almost gone to the intimate version. Chanel, Dior, Chopard, L’Oréal, luxury brands but also film distributors organize dinners on beaches or pontoons – between 30,000 and 50,000 euros for privatization – but for an infinitely smaller number of guests . On the 5th floor of the Marriott hotel, the Terrasse by Albane hosts the All-Festival every evening. Open air, 200 privileged, instead of the usual 400. No more partying until the end of the night, the music stops at 2:30 am We met Vanessa Paradis deliciously tipsy, Nicolas Sarkozy coming out of the Dior dinner, where he was sitting between Carla and Isabelle Adjani. And especially Matt Damon, who tried to demand that we reserve for him, exclusively, the elevator supposed to transport twelve people… Rumors run: projectionists have been declared positive, and even the general delegate, Thierry Frémaux… They have were quickly denied. But when the wife of Israeli director Nadav Lapid tests positive, her husband comes into contact with Matt Damon, who they had lunch with, like everyone else who approached them during the promotion of their film. And there it is confirmed.
Cannes at the time of the Covid is not so easy to live with. The Gaumont staff went downstairs with their nurse, who performs regular tests. Léa Seydoux, positive, is in confinement in Paris but is tested every day to come to the Croisette, where she must present four films. Adam Driver, the dark hero of the opening film, refuses any interview inside because his assurances would not cover him. Wes Anderson, the director of “The French Dispatch”, hypochondriac, answers interviews only by telephone. Americans are very attentive to sanitary measures, the president, Spike Lee, gets tested regularly. But it’s not just that… The stars also had to give up the Carlton, which is being renovated until 2023. Like Spike Lee and Jodie Foster, Sean Penn had to move to the Martinez. As is his daughter, Dylan, whom he had with Robin Wright. She holds one of the two main roles of “Flag Day”. Facing her father, she seems to have some old scores to settle. She is 30 years old, bursts the screen. A star may have just been born.
The mayor of Cannes will try to keep an eye on this family duo, but he especially has in mind not to let Croisette rhyme with cluster. Sniffer dogs, trained to detect Covid, circulate at the foot of the steps. The Festival and the town hall have made a free screening center available to all participants, regardless of their nationality. Saturday evening, Pierre Lescure announced a first triumph: 0 cases out of 2,800 tests! We announce, under the presidency of Spike Lee, a very political prize list. But in the meantime, this funny festival remains hanging on the lips of the decisions of a mayor who, fortunately, loves cinema. He would rather continue to accumulate projections rather than find himself forced to make “restrictive decisions”. And continue to dream. Like Sophie Marceau who confided to the Belgian newspaper “Le soir”: “Tell me to disguise myself as a Tinker Bell or to put on an evening dress. I like to get out of reality… The predictable bores me. Neither this year nor this Festival will have disappointed her.
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