Get ready, get set….
"We have now arrived at the Cannes Film Festival!" said the train conductor, as passengers in my car laughed. Everyone and their mother was on the train from Paris that would take them to two weeks of sun, fun, and hard work.
Some of the silver panthers on the train looked a bit muddled during the 5-hour jaunt from Paris to the golden Mediterranean coast of Cannes. “They’re all on their way to the festival,” said the conductor to one older gentleman.
He didn’t understand why, after standing in line for an hour to buy lunch in the food car, there were no sandwiches left. Journalists and those film types are a hungry bunch.
Once we were all off the train, there was another bottleneck to go down the escalator.
In order to prevent everyone from falling down the moveable stairs and on top of the poor soul further on, there were special escalator police to make sure we were all evenly spaced out.
Had there been crazed festival attendees in the olden times who broke their crowns? Maybe someone had appeared topless à la Simone Silva with Robert Mitchum in 1954. All were clothed as far as I could see.
I have been warned that there would be no time to breathe while covering two weeks of cinematic madness. But the schedule I found online seemed to have numerous showings of all the movies.
Thirty-year Cannes veteran and colleague Julio set me straight as we walked to our hotel—those aren’t for the press. “These are,” he said, and showed me a much slimmer schedule of theatres in different areas. Of the six pair of shoes I brought, rollerblades were not part of the deal.
Julio obliged me again by taking me and another colleague to the special (unmarked) area where we had special mailboxes to pick up invites and additional information.
Next, some ambient sound for my report. Workers surrounded the Pavillions du Monde, where they worked on putting up temporary, high-gloss booths meant to tempt attendees to take a turn inside.
One guy was putting the finishing touches to the red carpet still encased in plastic. Happily smoking while cutting the stray ends off the red moquette, he agreed to my microphone, knowing that I probably wouldn’t pick up the sound of him smoking.
He looked at my mic. “Oui, pas de souci.(no problem).” But something caught his eye behind me—it was a 2-metre-tall German cameraman filming his work while smoking.
“Ahhh.. ça c’est pas bon!” He deftly removed his cigarette from his mouth, and gave me a wink and gave the camera a big smile.
If you listen hard enough, you can hear a smile on the radio.