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Cannes 2017: Catharine's blog

Posted Friday 16 June 2017 by Catharine Des Forges in Festival Reports, General

Geu Hu

Hong Sang-soo's latest Geu-Hu

Sadly, we're nearing the end of our Cannes reports and will soon have to start day dreaming about future film festivals. After accounts from Jo, Kenny, Jonny and Duncan, here's a whistle stop tour of what a trip to Cannes means for the Director of the ICO, Catharine Des Forges.

I arrived in Cannes at around 9.30 on Sunday morning having got a flight at 6am so it’s always a triumph of hope over experience if you make it to midnight without falling asleep. I’ve got 3 days though, so I always want to make the most of the time! There’s something special always about coming into Cannes, seeing the sea sparkle and watching people in heels and evening dress saunter down the croisette in the mid-day sun. My first date of the festival is a meeting with the Creative Europe desk from Italy about some possible training and it’s in the EU pavilion which has its own hand-crafted macaroons so I decide that this is probably a very nice place to conduct your professional business. cinema ritrovato

Il Cinema Ritrovato in Bologna

I catch up with Briony from the British Council on another pavilion beach and manage to dip my toes in the water…! The British Council are great partners in our DYFF course which is taking place in June in Edinburgh and this year we are hosting a session with them on inclusion and access focussing on deaf filmmakers and audiences. My next appointment is at the Hotel Carlton for the Europa Cinemas Network meeting. This is a great opportunity to see programmers and colleagues from the UK but also to catch up with alumni and speakers from our courses and European colleagues from a number of different projects. The Carlton Grand Salon has opulent chandeliers and looks like a film set so I feel straight away that I’m experiencing the magic of Cannes. We receive reminders of some of the great opportunities offered by Europa –  the 28 Times Cinema Project which will see aspiring young journalists from around Europe attend the Venice Film Festival and the upcoming lab at Il Cinema Ritrovato in Bolgona – certainly a course which could lay claim to the best food on any training course ever.

The evening sees the arrival of my colleagues and we go out to dinner – our flat is in the middle of a lively restaurant quarter which is a good and bad thing….obviously not so great at 3am…and then onto a screening of The Square - on show at Summer Screening Days - which unbeknownst to me (and which I didn’t predict) will go on to win the Palme d’Or.

happy end

Michael Haneke's Happy End

Monday and Tuesday are for screenings – I see the new Yorgos Lanthimos, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Michael Haneke’s Happy End, Geu-Hu by Hong Sang-soo, Naomi Kawase’s Hikari and 24 Frames by Abbas Kiarostami. There’s a lot of competition favourites in there and all have merit although for some - Hong Sang-soo, Haneke -  we’re definitely treading familiar ground. Of these, the strongest is probably The Killing of a Sacred Deer. Colin Farrell once again stars, this time with Nicole Kidman, and fans of The Lobster will not be disappointed although this seems to be forming part of an oeuvre rather than, as Dogtooth, heralding an arresting new voice. It has a very eerie quality to it, with unsettling performances and a shocking climax and it’s interesting to see such an original, left-field voice working with mainstream stars in this way but I personally would like to have seen a more economic use of narrative. There’s still time for the Nordic party, a festival institution with its festival DJ dance-off, inspired moves and wonderful waterside location, always slightly crazy and completely unmissable. It’s a short but productive stay and testament to the fact that you don’t need to have a long stay to get some business done.

Cannes 2017: Duncan's blog

Posted Wednesday 14 June 2017 by Duncan Carson in Festival Reports, General

It may seem like many moons ago, but we still have lots of thoughts about Cannes 2017. Following on from Jo, Jonny and Kenny's takes on this year's festival, our Marketing & Communications Manager, Duncan Carson, shares his experience of the festival and his top 3 films.

This was my first time attending Cannes in its second week, leaving the hefting of promotional bags to my esteemed colleagues. The first week – all anticipation, glamour and jostling to be the one to anoint the first masterpiece of the festival – lapses into something altogether different in the latter half of the fortnight. You collide with friends who have been there since the outset, bewildered that you have just arrived, that any time or place exists outside the routine of five screenings a day and a harried baguette between them. Anything that happened prior to the previous screening is now a remote memory, wiped clean each day like the Croisette pavement.

This year especially there is a definite fatigue in the air: those titles that reignite one’s passion and attenuate the relentless succession of screenings have yet to arrive. It has not been A Good Year, and as much as watching films and talking about them for a living is a professional dream and privilege, it has begun to curdle by day nine. I arrive on the saddest of winds from the UK, with any bridling against Cannes’ ever tightening security silenced by the horrific bombing in Manchester the night before. While nothing can remove the feeling of triviality of being in these surroundings given the circumstances, the Cannes team capture the spirit of why we continue in the face of this tragedy: ‘Yet another attack on culture, youth and joyfulness, on our freedom, generosity and tolerance, all things that the Festival and those who make it possible – the artists, professionals and spectators – hold dear.’

Having been thinking a good deal about what makes a festival succeed while working on our Developing Your Film Festival course, this year only highlighted the unique aspects of Cannes among other festivals. Both succeeding beyond other festivals' wildest dreams, and also dropping clangers that would tarnish any other festival’s reputation, Cannes sits alone on its own shelf. However many obdurate and infuriating interviews Thierry Fremaux gives, this is still the beginning of the film year, where careers are made and destroyed. Does that mean it is beyond question? Absolutely, positively not and there’s been some great writing and talking this year that highlights Cannes' many blind spots. All that said, it’s still a great place to see new films. Here’s my rundown of my three favourites.

Jeune femme
Image: Jeune Femme

Jeune Femme

After a run of bad screenings, I slouch into Un Certain Regard contender Jeune Femme (its ungainly English-language title Montparnasse – Bienvenue will hopefully be shed by Curzon Artificial Eye when they bring it to UK audiences). A debut film with a title that promises exactly the kind of May-September romance that is excruciatingly overfamiliar on the Croisette, I have to say I’m not expecting much. Yet what follows is a hilarious, humane and scabrous picture of just the kind of ‘difficult’ woman that cinema is begging for (the type of character men have been given licence to for decades). Laetitia Dosch’s Paula is first seen shouting through her estranged lover’s door before knocking herself unconscious trying to headbutt her way through it. This proves to be an apt metaphor for the ensuing narrative, as we watch Paula variously flit between the obsessive stalking of her partner and absolute diffidence. Our first real introduction to the character is watching Paula's unnerving, direct to camera monologue denouncing her lover in a highly digressive manner, before destroying a generic portrait meant to generate tranquillity in patients. The story rolls along in freeform fashion, but never feels shapeless or self-indulgent. Instead, we’re at the mercy of Paula’s whims as she rehomes her cat, becomes an au pair, takes a job selling lingerie and mangles opportunities thrown her way. Without Dosch’s unflinchingly honest performance this would be an excruciating watch, but instead it’s a delight to cringe along to  it's a genuinely unflattering portrait, though also painfully relatable.

Fans of Lena Dunham’s Girls, Todd Solondz’s early work, Drew Godard’s See You Next Tuesday among other tales of girls gone wilfully wild will find this a real treat. It also has one of the great cat performances in cinema if that tips the scales...

Good Time
Image: Good Time

Good Time

Josh and Benny Safdie’s Good Time attaches the authenticity of their last outing (acclaimed heroin drama Heaven Knows What) to an aching, propulsive crime story. Seeking a pastoral idyll, brothers Nick (Benny Safdie) and Connie (Robert Pattinson) rob a bank wearing black-face masks. The robbery goes awry, with the majority of the film dedicated to Pattinson retrieving his brother and pursuing nefarious and bungling means to return to the financial starting line.

Pattinson is impressive, skilfully scaling his performance to match the rest of the mainly street-cast actors. His film star looks add needed believability to the character’s improbable journey, enabling him to sociopathically charm any person who proves an obstacle. The happenstance madness of New York is a great fit for Pattinson, whether he’s defrauding his girlfriend (Jennifer Jason Leigh, sadly underused), charming an underage girl, facing off against another petty hood or impersonating a security guard.

The film is not without tonal issues: at times it urges us to view the brothers' criminal downfall with caper-esque delight, at other times as the epitome of white privilege. Yet there is something propulsive, honest and unsettling about the film that is irresistible. Its drive is partly generated by the fantastic score by electronic artist Oneohtrix Point Never and the sickly, neon and washed out 35mm visuals by US indie wunderkind cinematographer Sean Price Williams.

It isn’t a straightforward entertainment, but should win considerable attention. Like his Twilight co-star Kirsten Stewart, Pattinson has sought out projects that his star cachet can bring attention to (The Lost City of Z, Cosmopolis). This is the first time that fronting an auteur-driven project has proved a winning formula for the actor, and the combination of a crime thriller with this kind of grit and pace - along with his star performance - should ensure success on its UK release.

you were never really here
Image: You Were Never Really Here

You Were Never Really Here

Lynne Ramsay’s film arrives on the final day of competition like a balm, winning exhausted critics over with its rigorous 85 minute run time. Although produced for the festival absolutely down to the wire (the version that debuts at the festival does so without credits), the time has clearly been spent honing it to its absolute leanest.

The core of the story is almost laughably familiar to genre fans: Joaquin Phoenix plays Joe, a contract killer damaged by his past, carrying out a series of cold-blooded killings in order to retrieve the kidnapped daughter of a politician. But Ramsay’s execution justifies retreading ground covered by Scorsese (Taxi Driver), Jean-Pierre Melville (Le Samourai), Luc Besson (Leon: The Professional) and many more.

You Were Never Really Here is a major achievement for the Scottish-born director, but one that audiences will need to steel themselves to commit to. Having a critically-acclaimed star like Phoenix in an awards-contender performance, as well as moving into more established narrative modes, will serve the film when it comes to release. That said, it is a painful watch, for exactly the reasons that also make it worthwhile: it reinvigorates familiar tropes with a morality and reality that standard treatments gloss over or aestheticise; it’s also unflinchingly about its lead character’s desire for suicide, and about the child sex trade. As a killer, Joe’s specialism is in murdering the abusers of children (watching this film following the debut of Roman Polanski’s Based on a True Story proved a queasy counterpoint), and it’s a credit that this sensational subject matter never feels contrived (perhaps fuelled by Joaquin Phoenix’s research into a real life equivalent of his character).

Hitman stories mostly offer character background as a justification for the violence that provides their true raison d’etre. The formula is reversed here, with Phoenix’s past showing that his present brutality is a mere echo of past trauma and the film seeking to negate the present, just as Phoenix himself is engaged in a regime of self-harm. The editing, which conceals moments of anticipated violence, hints at Joe’s process of hiding from himself and also creates a lingering feeling of hiatus, of irresolution that makes it distinctly memorable. Jonny Greenwood’s score does much of the heavy lifting here, continuing his run of superlative scores.

Elsewhere in the festival there is a procession of unearned images of violence, injected either to sustain narrative interest or to assure the viewer of the sobriety of the subject matter. Ramsay’s skill is in braiding her remarkable images (a jellybean crushed between fingers, teeth vacuumed against a suffocating plastic bag, dinner eaten with bloodstained hands) into a scheme that entirely justifies them, rather than retroactively seeking for an excuse to thread provocative imagery into a narrative arc.

It’s a shame that Ramsay’s film only manages a (very deserved) acting prize for Joaquin Phoenix rather than any of larger gongs, but there’s every chance that this film will be drawing major attention from audiences and awards when STUDIOCANAL release it in the UK. 

Cannes 2017: Jonny's blog

Posted Tuesday 6 June 2017 by Jonny Courtney in Festival Reports, General

We're continuing to find out what the ICO team made of the 70th Festival de Cannes. Following Jo's love for Agnès Varda's Visages, Villages, and Kenny's first time musings, it's time to hear what Senior Film Programmer, Jonny Courtney, made of this year's cinematic offerings.

If Cannes 2016 felt a little light on films from the big-hitting ‘autuers’ of world cinema, this year’s festival seemed to contain them all. The competition line-up alone fielded new films from Michael Haneke, Lynne Ramsay, Todd Haynes, Yorgos Lanthimos, François Ozon, Hong Sangsoo, Andrey Zvyagintsev, Bong Joon Ho, Naomi Kawase and Sofia Coppolla.

Away from the main competition, there were also new films from Bruno Dumont, Claire Denis, Roman Polanski, Laurent Cantet, Takashi Miike and Agnès Varda, so expectations for Cannes 2017 were high amongst colleagues and fellow programmers!

The Square

Palme d'Or winner The Square

First up for me was Ruben Östlund’s The Square, which was screening at 10pm in the Salle du Soixantieme; a screen used for the repeat screenings which resembles a fantastic auditorium inside a giant marquee. This gives people the opportunity to catch up on the competition titles that screened the day before, and despite the nearby euro-pop blasting out from a nearby party, it was still a great place to watch the eventual Palme d’Or winner. 

The Square focuses on Christian, the director of a contemporary art gallery in Stockholm, who is conned after coming to the aid of a passer-by, and goes in search of the culprit with surprising consequences. Alongside this story, the new exhibition at the museum, 'The Square',  causes quite a stir when the PR agency use a shocking campaign to market it to the public.

To say much more would be to divulge the many shocks that unfold, but like Östlund’s previous film Force Majeure, the film intelligently examines the morality of the choices we make, and also looks at personal responsibility and the ways we operate as a society in the Western world. And if this all sounds a little too worthy, then think again – this is biting satire which is both hilarious and horrifying, and features perhaps the best scene I’ve witnessed in a cinema in the last year. Curzon are opening The Square on 25th August, traditionally a solid weekend for indie cinemas, and they look to have another foreign language hit on their hands.

Wind River

Taylor Sheridan's latest feature is an emotionally-charged noir/thriller Wind River

Wind River is the second feature directed by writer Taylor Sheridan (Sicario, Hell or High Water) and is likely to be the first UK release for new distributor STX. The film is an emotionally-charged noir/thriller which at times feels like a cross between Frozen River and The Searchers.

When a young Native American girl is found dead on the reservation in Wyoming by local hunter Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner), the FBI are alerted and Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) is sent to assist from Las Vegas. Whilst unprepared for the harsh cold, she soon proves herself more than capable of working with Lambert to track down the people responsible for the girl’s death.

The screenplay doesn’t stray too far from Sheridan’s previous work, and although the story is less layered than either Sicario or Hell or High Water, as a director, he proves himself very capable of handling the complex emotions and visceral action needed to make this film work. Renner and Olsen excel in their roles and the film should pick up decent word of mouth to help it perform solid business at the box office for STX this autumn. 

I am not a witch

Rungana Nyoni's debut I Am Not A Witch

One of the buzz-titles of this year’s festival was Rungana Nyoni’s first feature I Am Not A Witch. Set in Zambia, the film revolves around a 9 year old girl, Shula, who is accused of witchcraft. Tied to a spool with a long ribbon, Shula is told that should she cut the ribbon and attempt to escape, she will be transformed into a goat.

I Am Not A Witch is one of the boldest feature debuts I have seen in many years, and whilst the film isn’t totally successful, Nyoni’s considerable talent is impossible to deny. Visually striking and totally unique, the harrowing tale is punctuated with some brilliantly timed humour and a superb soundtrack (maybe the best use of Vivaldi’s Winter since Park Chan Wook’s Oldboy) to create a film quite unlike anything else in this year’s festival. Curzon have picked this up for UK distribution, and indie cinemas should look to support this striking film from a fascinating director.

the killing of a sacred deer 2

Yorgos Lanthimos' The Killing of a Sacred Deer

I was lucky enough to get a ticket through the official ballot (read more in Jo’s blog) for Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Killing of a Sacred Deer, his follow up to the acclaimed The Lobster.

The film tells the story of Steven Murphy (Colin Farrell), a respected cardiologist who is regularly meeting with Martin (Barry Keoghan), the teenage son of a man he operated on some time ago. Whilst the meetings appear innocent, Steven has hidden the friendship from his wife, Anna (Nicole Kidman), and there is an underlying strangeness that develops into something much darker as the film progresses.

This unique suburban horror is as brilliant as it is bizarre. Performances are pitch-perfect from all the leads, with a fantastic display of restraint from Farrell in particular. The cinematography from regular collaborator Thimios Bakatakis is exquisite, echoing Stanley Kubrick in both style and tone – one scene in particular of a young boy dragging himself along the floor feels like a reprise of The Shining – while the pacing from Lanthimos is expertly handled; slowly dialing up the tension and creating an atmosphere of malevolence in his own unique way.   

The off-beat humour of The Lobster is ever-present, and like that film, Sacred Deer certainly has the potential to divide audiences, but this is superb filmmaking from a director in complete command of his craft. Distributor Curzon should look to release in Q3 in the UK, which proved very successful for The Lobster back in 2015, especially with independents.

the beguiled

More Colin Farrell! This time in Sofia Coppola's The Beguiled

The Beguiled came along at just the right time of the festival for me – running at a mere 94 minutes long (remember when people made films at this length...?) – this Southern gothic melodrama from Sofia Coppola was just the pick-me-up I needed.

A remake of Don Siegel’s 1971 film of the same name starring Clint Eastwood and Geraldine Page (disclaimer – I haven’t yet seen the original), Coppola adapts the Thomas Cullinan novel (A Painted Devil) which tells of a soldier, John McBurney (played by Colin Farrell), wounded in the American Civil War, and found by a young girl from the nearby all-girls boarding school in rural Virginia. Back at the school, Miss Farnworth (Nicole Kidman) agrees to take McBurney in to care for him until he is well enough to hand him over to either side. The presence of the soldier more than disrupts the order of things, where the young women in the house are moved to behave in ways somewhat unbecoming of their schooling...

Coppola’s film seems to exist in its own hazy world, with the Civil War rumbling in the background kept at bay only by the gates to the school. With sun-dappled exteriors, candle-lit rooms and pale pastel costumes, visually this is not too dissimilar to The Virgin Suicides, but unlike this earlier work, there is barely any music discernible until late on in the film, as the tension begins to boil over.

The script is a riot, with tongue firmly in cheek the fantastic cast deliver their innuendos and double-entendre whilst Coppola is remarkably restrained, moving the plot along at an unhurried pace which perfectly matches the sultry tone. Sexy, funny and perfectly crafted, The Beguiled will be most welcome for indie cinemas in July when Universal release.

Cannes 2017: Kenny's blog

Posted Monday 5 June 2017 by Kenny Bradley in Festival Reports, General

A couple of weeks ago I headed to the 70th Annual Festival de Cannes for the first time. Luckily for me, I was joined by seasoned Cannes veterans - ICO Director Catharine, and Senior Programmer Jonny Courtney - who were able to offset my initial frustration of not receiving access to the newly introduced online ticket request system, by assuring me that there would be plenty of spares and that good old fashioned orderly queuing would ensure I’d get to see plenty of films. They helped me navigate the festival, which can be confusing at times, and provided me with some invaluable tips.

The allocation of tickets appears to be completely at random, although many theories persist about why one individual might receive a bounty of highly sought after gala screening invitations, and another is left to barter for spares outside The Palais. Theories that range from ‘if you have previously not used a ticket, they remember and penalise you in future’, to ‘the photo on my festival pass makes me look a bit smug’.  The internal system at play in the accreditation office remains a somewhat bizarre and closely guarded secret, and adds to the ridiculous maze of etiquette and formality that initially had me feeling slightly on edge. I had heard early reports of people being forcibly removed from queues for wearing shorts, so I packed a suit just in case, y’know, Will Smith invited me to a yacht party, but was immediately put at ease when I arrived to find my colleague had proudly walked the red carpet in their Converse.

atelier cantet

Image: Laurent Cantet's L'Atelier

Without any definitive plan of what I could feasibly watch, I decided to try my luck wherever possible and haphazardly join queues to the festival sidebars, often with little to no context of what I’d be queuing to see. This proved to be a great plan. For instance, I joined the first queue I saw forming after being denied entry to a party I hadn’t RSVP'd to, and after an hour and a half I was in the Debussy Theatre watching Laurent Cantet’s L’Atelier with the cast sat a few rows back from me. Whilst the copies of Screen Daily that can be obtained from the Palais are essential to give yourself a rough idea of what to at least try to queue for, more often than not you’ll find yourself getting tantalising close to the entrance only to be told a screening is full; you need to leave yourself at least an hour before the screening time to start queuing. As it happened, the first film I saw was in the large temporary Salle du Soixantieme cinema next to the Palais, for which we arrived quite late, but were promptly seated within 15 minutes.

The Square

Kenny's first film in Cannes was Palme d'Or winner The Square. True beginner's luck!

I settled in to Ruben Östlund’s The Square with a vague idea of the buzz it had generated during its first screening the day before, and having previously worked for a contemporary art gallery, was sold on its write up as an art world satire. Not having to queue and seeing the eventual Palme D’Or winner for your first Cannes film is about as jammy as it gets, and despite the apparent upset caused by it pipping Loveless and 120 Beats per Minute to the main prize – neither of which I was able to see as they appeared earlier in the programme – the film really stuck with me. There is one set piece in particular, which has since been commented on a lot, which is incredibly hard to watch, involving a performance artist’s over-commitment to his craft when let loose on a fancy dinner party. It is genuinely intense, yet will have you holding back inappropriate laughter. I later learned that Terry Notary, the animal-movement expert central to the scene, had repeated this performance on the red carpet, which I wouldn’t have hung around long to watch for fear of being chimp-suplexed. The film takes its aim at how we engage with culture, make assumptions based on class, and how attitudes toward what is deemed morally appropriate – how you ought to behave in public for instance - are undermined by our baser instincts and a collective herd-mentality, by following the decline of a celebrated curator as he explores his macho-side after getting a kick out of confronting an assailant (in a scene apparently inspired by an incident in which Östlund had his phone stolen in real-life). It throws up a lot of ideas which makes it hard to take in as a whole, and the tone might put some off, but it’s hard not to appreciate the more plainly surreal, slapstick and absurd moments, not to mention a very strange score that seemed to be made up of voice manipulation (although I can find no reference to it online), and it felt ever more pertinent given the context in which I was able to see it.

killing of a sacred deer

Next up was Yorgos Lanthimos' The Killing of a Sacred Deer

My first invitation screening – thank you to the ICO colleague who secured me a spare - was an 8:30am showing of The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Yorgos Lanthimos’ follow up to The Lobster. I woke up with 10 minutes to spare, grabbed the complementary Biscoff Biscuits next to the tea bags in our apartment, and headed to the 2000+ seat Grand Théâtre Lumière, the festival’s largest venue. If ever there was a film to ease you into the day, like an episode of Fraiser on a Sunday morning, this is not it. We’re talking children bleeding from the eyes! The mannered and stunted delivery that we’ve become accustomed to in Lanthimos’ films had a high hit ratio in terms of eliciting some big laughs from the audience, via mundane observations on wrist watches and some questionable parenting, but a spattering of traditional Cannes’ booing at the end, along with a lukewarm jury score, indicated that it split the room. I quite enjoyed it, and there’s a great performance from Barry Keoghan (’71, Trespass Against Us) as a sociopathic french-fry enthusiast, but I would have liked to have seen it on a fuller stomach.

24 frames

Image: Abbas Kiarostami's posthumous film 24 Frames

Other notable films that I managed to see included Wind River, the second feature from Taylor Sheridan, an investigative thriller set within a Native American Reservation in central Wyoming, and 24 Frames, Abbas Kiarostami’s posthumous film. The former received a lengthy standing ovation after its premiere in the Un Certain Regard competition, and draws attention to the US Government’s shocking inability to confirm the numbers of missing and murdered indigenous women, through what Sheridan describes as an ‘insidious mixture of apathy and exploitation’. Kiarostami’s non-narrative 24 Frames requires patience. Composed of 24 mostly static segments, each four and half minutes long, it explores the space and time before and after a photograph has been taken, utilising green screen technology to enhance and mediate on a selection of still photographs that he took throughout the course of his life. The sound is mostly diegetic, save for a very understated score that creeps in at certain points to great effect, however this was slightly undermined during the screening I attended by some quite loud snoring and a continual stream of walkouts (again this took place at 8:30am, so hardly surprising). I have to admit to finding it hard to stay engaged throughout, however I fought through the yawns and seat shuffling and stayed till the end.

kenny cannes celebs

A parade of celebrities to greet Kenny L-R: Adrien Brody, Jessica Chastain, Agnès Varda

To make my first ever trip to Cannes all the more surreal, after leaving the Lumière Theatre as the end credits rolled for 24 Frames, I waited outside to check the day’s schedule and began to realise a small crowd was forming within the security cordon. Suddenly someone started yelling excitedly, and there in front of me was Abel Ferrara with his daughter. After an impromptu photocall from the spattering of press and (mainly) amateur photographers, he got into a car next to where I was standing. Then things started to get really weird. Antonio Banderas, in a blue suit with a pencil ‘tache - recognisable to me after a yell of ‘eyyy, it’s Zorro!’ – bounded out of a tent and started signing autographs. Park Chan-Wook casually strolled past with a rucksack. Then they kept coming: Ken Loach, a very animated Christoph Waltz, Roman Polanski, Benecio Del Toro, Paolo Sorrentino puffing on a massive stogie, Salma Hayak, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Nicholas Winding Refn, Mads Mikkelsen, Tilda Swinton, Michael Haneke in his Larry David blazer, Adrian Brody and the pièce de résistance, Agnès Varda, who pretended to hide behind two massive plant pots. Jessica Chastain opened up the barriers to meet the crowd, speaking fluent French, and was ushered to her car that would take her to the photo call celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the festival, where this rag-tag group of A-listers would all be saying ‘ouistiti’. Then, bounding down the red carpet, Will Smith popped up directly in front of me. There is an elderly French woman somewhere with a selfie of herself and Will Smith, with a rather bemused, slightly sunburned man in glasses in the background. I had to leave after that.


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