In the gum drop line
In Los Angeles, they size you up with, “what car do you drive?” In Paris, it’s “what arrondissement (neighbourhood) do you live in?” At Cannes, it is the inevitable, “what colour badge do you have?”
Cannes has a journalist pecking order, and this determines how fast (if at all) you can go into the screenings. The extra special people have white badges and can go everywhere, while pink badges with yellow dots (or ‘pastilles’ as they call them in French, which makes them sound like lovely gum drops) are nearly as fab.
The next group wears pink (sans dot), the next blue, and, well, the rest..... Gum drop people get to saunter in to the screenings and up the red carpet immediately. The pinks are rationed and allowed in at a slower pace, but do not get to walk up the centre carpet. The others, unfortunately, have to queue up for hours and are lucky if a trickle of them can enter.
Luckily for me, I am in the land of gum drops, so I can traipse in right before the screening, which helps when you need to watch a movie at 8:30 in the morning.
After running around all day like the rest of the journos trying to cover the festival, it was party time, and invitees were to be whisked to the fete in a navette by the port. Wearing sweater, high heels (natch) and a light jacket, I was ready for the wind when we hit the water.
“Excuse me, where’s the Port of Cannes area?” I asked one of the 700 policemen here at Cannes.
I was looking for the navette to a party I’d been invited to. Yup, a dumb question in a town with a natural port. But the receptionist at the hotel didn’t seem to know either.
On the street, I asked a policeman who was controlling traffic.
Big smile. “I dunno. I’m from Marseille!”
The next guy had the same excuse.
“Bonsoir, Marseille?” I asked number three. Might as well cut to the chase. He was, but he knew where the port was and pointed me in the right direction.
The area was swimming with people, all apparently trying to get to the same place as I. The invite said ‘navette’, and somehow, I expected a boat. But the coach to the festival was actually a bus. Apparently navette means a bus that goes to one place and returns to the original stop, going back and forth all night. Didn’t think you’d get a French lesson here, did you?
As the coach pulled up, the partygoers (adults one and all) made a beeline to the front door of the bus, as people pushed to get on. Somehow, I managed to get a seat, but was a bit squished in the process.
We navette-ed to the villa in one piece, just in time for the concert.
Julian Doré, a golden-curled singer, jumped up onto the small outdoor stage. Thankfully he opened his mouth and started to sing—he was wearing a pair of skinny jeans to rival all skinny jeans. I was worried they would affect his breathing. Not sure if he’s known outside of Europe, but he is one you see on TV over here on a regular basis.
The alcohol-fueled event had plenty to eat as well, such as little lactose-filled hors d’oeuvres that I avoided like the plague (due to my lactose intolerance), but the gigantic bowl of cherries hit the spot.
After being navette-d back to the port, I walked past others in various black-tie glittery, spangle-y outfits. Past midnight, the sidewalk turned into a ‘penguin dodge-em’ as tuxedo-clad men in various forms of inebriety swerved to and fro while walking either by themselves or with their ornately-dressed dates.
Overheard on the Croisette that night: “You know, my boyfriend is a lawyer, like his dad, and they do all that horrible masculine stuff, like pushing and shoving.”
So that explains it: I was among a bus full of lawyers.