Diana Drumm is reporting from Cannes for The Film Experience
After delays, a cancelled train and discovering the local bus line just went on strike, I hurried from the Cannes train station in an ill-chosen bulky trench coat, swooping up my overfilled laptop bag. Following my newly made acquaintance-guide who I'd bonded with over the inefficiency of French trains (as you do), we scurried through the maze of narrow boutique and cafe-lined streets. The city is brimming with people: the tanned and about to be sunburned, the stiletto-heeled and Doc Marten-ed, the maddening tourists and the maddened locals. After approximately two turns and nearly body-checking at least three walkers of a more leisurely pace, she stopped and I looked up. There was Guido Contini (Marcello Mastroianni in Fellini’s 8 ½) peering over his sunglasses seductively, with a look that falls somewhere between cheekiness and contempt (let’s just call it “rawr”), plastered on the Palais des Festivals.
Regaining my breath, heart still pacing, I got into the queue. Four of them actually (bag-check, press badge, press queue, another bag-check) all the while terrified as the clock struck closer and closer to the festival’s first press screening. Praying and stroking my good luck charm (a piece of Errol Flynn’s suit) I made my way up three flights of stairs to a seat in the center of the balcony. The lights dimmed, the curtains separated, and the festival’s Opening Night film, the already much-maligned Grace of Monaco, began to roll. (Full review forthcoming)
Though no one booed, there were enough ill-placed guffaws, lit-up mobile phones and hushed chatter mid-screening to indicate that this crowd was less than enamored with Olivier Dahan’s latest about model turned actress turned princess Grace Kelly. As the credits rolled (sappy music over images of red and white roses), I attempted a mad dash to the stairs in order to get to the Grace of Monaco press conference and catch Her Highness Nicole. Unfortunately, almost everyone else had the exact same idea and the handsome security men proved unbribable.
I was one of those left in the celebrity-less cold. Although tempted to leap over the blockade, I'll save that one strike surely ban-worthy offense for Michael Fassbender. But there she was… An ethereal vision in white, with slightly curled longer-than-shoulder-length blonde hair and oh-so-fair skin (lips as plump as cherries), Nicole Kidman walked briskly by the throng of still-waiting and exiled press, surrounded by a posse and giving off her characteristic aura of A-list-seclusion grace. In the midst of my awe, I attempted to snap a few photos of La Kidman, but all three turned out too blurry for your visual consumption.
Eating my feelings of slight disappointment, I scarfed down a “Croisette” sandwich (smoked salmon, cucumber, radishes, cream cheese and lettuce on ciabatta bread) and the best tasting in-plastic chocolate mousse ever at a film festival food counter. With time to kill before the next screening (not enough for writing, plenty for wandering), I got my bearings around the International Village and the film market -- look out for Jail Caesar starring Derek Jacobi, not coming to a theater near you. Then I queued up yet again for Timbuktu, which, unlike Grace of Monaco, got laughs in the appropriate places and warm, appreciative applause.
Onto Day Two!
Cannes Diary: Day 2 Grace of Monaco | Day 3 Mr Turner & Timbuktu | Day 4Amour Fou & The Blue Room | Day 5? The Homesman Press Conference and The Homesman Review | Day 7 Mommy, Maps to the Stars & Two Days One Night
Diana Drumm, who recently completed a stint as one of 8 young critics to take part in the 2nd annual NYFF Critics Academy became a member of our team this February. You can follow her on Twitter or visit her home page. See her previous posts for The Film Experience here.