POSTCARDS FROM CANNES 2007 - THE DAY BEFORE
Tuesday, May 15
THE DAY BEFORE
by Jimmy Thomson
It’s not the Cannes Film Festival organisers’ fault that I organised our arrival
in Nice too late to get to the (temporary) centre of the movie universe by
train. And it’s not even down to them that that this morning (Tuesday), we were
turned back at Nice station with the news that the trains were on strike.
Questions like ‘why?’ and, more importantly, ‘for how long?’ were met with the
same, non-committal, uninformative Gallic shrug. Something to do with the new
president, we were told as we were bundled into the back of a cab to take us to
the bus station. Ninety minutes later we arrived in Cannes, just moments after a
train. Either a bunch of disgruntled journos, led by the movie critic of the
Railway Gazette, had commandeered it or the strike was over. Ca va, as they say
Cannes is getting frocked up and buffed off for its annual festival – this being
the 60th – and the town is awash with lanyard-dangling critics and reporters.
The paparazzi have already staked out their places out with perilously high step
ladders and they have taking to photographing each other to while away the hours
before the first real celebs roll into town.
And there won’t be any shortage of them with Oceans 13 proving a baker’s dozen
all of its own while ubiquitous coffee bar background music crooner Norah Jones
kicks off the fame frenzy when she eschews the round-table and one-on-one
interviews for a couple of “intimate conversations” in front of 60 hand-picked
scribes. Jude Law, her co-star in My Blueberry Nights, and director Wong Kar Wai
will join her new best friends. But David Strathairn and Rachel Weisz are “tbc”
(to be confirmed) which is Cannes code for “ain’t coming”, while Natalie Portman
doesn’t even get a mention.
Blueberry Nights – a road movie about a search for love and a coming of age (is
there any other kind?) – is a soft opener for what promises to be a fairly
brutal festival. Quentin Tarantino is here with Death Proof, in which sleazy
stuntman Kurt Russell stalks a posse of foxy girls. David Fincher (7even) is
back on the “serial killer as brain teaser” trail with Zodiac, starring Jake
Gyllenhaal. In an almost entirely Aussie-free festival, here’s at least one
connection: Jake just happens to be the godfather of fellow Brokeback cowboy
Heath Ledger’s daughter Matilda Rose.
Back with the bloodlust, Gus Van Zant is here with Paranoid Park about a
skateboarder who accidentally kills a security guard then trundles off to resume
his normal innocent pursuit of destroying walls, steps and park benches.
The Coen brothers have the Croisette cooing in anticipation of bloody crime
drama No Place For Old Men in which Josh Brolin, Tommy Lee Jones, Woody
Harrelson and Kelly MacDonald prove that there’s life in old dogs, even if
there’s few new tricks. Meanwhile Mark Wahlberg and Robert Duvall star in We Own
The Night, about a war between the Russian mafia and the New York police in
which nothing is sacred and no one is safe.
On an even more sombre note, Angeline Jolie is here to promote A Mighty Heart -
director Michael Winterbottom’s true story of the abduction and murder in
Pakistan of American journalist Daniel Pearl – while Sicko is irrepressible
documentary maker Michael Moore’s dissection of America’s fatally flawed health
Also straddling the divide between fact and fiction, Goths and ghouls will love
Control, a biopic about the suicide-shortened life of Joy Division lead singer
Ian Curtis while U2 fanatics will feel much happier watching the new 3-D film of
their heroes in concert.
On a much merrier note, Jerry Seinfeld is creating a buzz with news that he’ll
be here to promote The Bee Movie, also starring Chris Rock and Renee Zellwegger,
in what appears to be a mixture of computer animation and silly costumes that
tells the story of a bee that decides to sue the human race for eating honey.
And Ealing Studios St Trinians series is about to be revived with Rupert
Everett, Colin Firth and more naught schoolgirls than you can shake a hockey
In art imitates life imitating art, the Entourage TV cast are due here to stage
a not-quite-mock press conference for an episode of the hit comedy in which they
There’s the usual swathe of quirky foreign comedies and movies so dark you
wonder why they were made – a five-year-old witnesses her baby sister being
sexually abused, anyone? But that’s all in the immediate future. The
not-quite-so-grim realities of reporting the Cannes scene have to be negotiated.
Arriving late and laden with luggage at the festival Press Centre, I recalled
the opinion of a producer friend that Cannes is where you go to find out how
insignificant you really are. The early-arriving smarty-pants, who already had
their credentials swinging from their necks, hung around the Palais De Festival
like threats of failure (although, in reality, they simply had nothing to
do). Once inside it all went very smoothly. The Press Kit arrived in a handy
shoulder bag – I bet some are already available on Ebay – in which a guidebook
asked us not to take bags into festival venues. Ca va, as they say around here.
Cannes is ready and raring to go. Stages and screens are being completed, the
buildings are covered with garish posters and the streets are crammed with
expectant movie fans, 6,000 worried journos, stressed-out PR types and
The bloodbath starts tomorrow – and that’s just the scramble to get into the
Published May 16, 2007
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Photos by Jimmy Thomson
The Bee Movie makes a big splash on the sea view
OTHER 2007 POSTCARDS