Friday, May 21, 2010

Two Days and Three Nights

I think the idea of blogging everyday was a bit ambitious, after leaving my hotel in the morning, which is miles away from the center of Cannes, I don't get back until very late at night, unfortunately that is just no time to be writing about the happenings in Cannes.

But I can say their are happenings, quite a few and although I'm a little too exhausted to go into full details right now, I will say this, Cannes has everything you want and everything you don't wrapped into a shiny package. You have to love the spectacle because this festival is all spectacle.

Here are some of the highlights....

*First Night

Upon arriving to Cannes, I didn't even go to my hotel to check-in, oh no, I went straight out. I met a lovely producer on the cab to Cannes and pretty soon, I was with his friends drinking whiskey and enjoying the sites. Amazing night that ended at a private party that non other than Mr. Harvey Weinstein was hosting. And yes I did shake his hand and say two words to him, "Thank you".

The price for this crazy night was having to sleep in the lobby of my hotel for two hours as the front desk was closed from 4am to 6am but luckily I have experience sleeping in crazy places after the last few months of London living.


After missing the start of a hungarian film, I randomly went into a film that I had no information about and didn't even know if it was going to be in any good. Well it's turned out to be one of my favourites of the festival and also as an added bonus I sat right behind Gael Garcia Bernal during the screening. I tried to take a picture but all I got was the back of his head.  After the screening I was able to shake the stars hand and let him know what a gem of a movie it was, truly something to keep our eyes on for CIFF.

*The Beach

Today I spent two hours on the beach, I should have been watching films but after two in a row I just had to soak up some of the sun. We are deprived in Calgary. Yesterday I watched a film on the beach, an old detective story titled, "The Girl Hunters". It reminded me a lot of Chinatown and Sin City, I suppose these are the most recent successes in the film noir genre. I was in and out of the film (a few distractions all around me) but for a film on a beach it was great. I enjoyed it a lot. I must have been really happy about it, because the Chinese press interviewed me about the experience as the film was ending.

So yes, Cannes has proven it's worth, I'll write a final review upon my return but for now I can share that I've seen seven films in my three days of being here and I hope to see at least three more before going to back to the UK.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Juan in Cannes - Preface

The Death of Film?

Very recently I went to see the latest big, blockbuster, event-movie and while sitting in the movie theatre watching a half hour of adverts, only two trailers, and eating a bag of salted but not buttered popcorn I witnessed what I think is the death of film.

Not that I didn't enjoy Iron Man 2, I thought it was great. I love a good Hollywood film, for all it's limited story and lack of character development there's wonderful effects, beautiful dare I say artistic technical achievements that you can't find anywhere else. It's amazing to look at, it's shiny and expensive, how can you not love it.

But as I sat there watching Marvel Comics open the summer blockbuster season, I was also witnessing a system that is taking less and less risks and is becoming more and more protective of it's releases and it's 'property'. Therefore as watched Iron Man 2 my eyes were opened to the fact that Hollywood in ten years will no longer make movies, but they'll make events, and that leaves the rest of us with tiny budgets but hopefully good stories to tell.

Some might think it's exciting, new filmmakers figuring out new ways to distribute films and using any means necessary to get their stories told but for me I find it scary, the industry as we know is changing, and I wonder if film will go the way of theatre and end up as niche entertainment, has this process already started?

Onward to Cannes

With this in mind I go to Cannes, the biggest and highest profile Film Festival of them all. Will I get lost in the spectacle? Will films come secondary to the star sightings and the French Riviera? I have no idea what to expect nor am I putting pressure on this festival to give me faith in the industry again. But, I'm hoping that my eyes will be opened by the films that were selected. I'm hoping these storytellers who are at their prime will give me faith in the power film, because after all film is the most powerful medium and can change you, and move you and challenge your entire way of thinking in just two hours or less.

So Cannes, I challenge you! Open my eyes to what film can be and what film should be. Please Cannes, we need you at this most trying time in our industry, we need you to be the proud, flashy, over-the-top festival that you are, and show that a good film is worth everything.!

It will be exciting.. five nights, four days, 1 festival pass. I'm going to soak it up, open myself to everything, witness the markets, watch the shorts, sneak into the parties, and let rekindle my first and last true love, the cinema.

Woo! Can't wait.

The Practical Side

For those of you that are still reading, thank you. Now I have to just get out of the epic preface and explain just how nervous I am.

1. This will be my first time traveling to a place where I don't speak the language. Yes I have travelled many places, and yes I know french is very similar to Spanish but still it's different enough. I'll definitely be a foreigner in a new place. That being said I'm sure it will be fine with plenty of English speakers around for us annoying North Americans to speak slowly to.

2. Ash Cloud... ugh! Are you kidding me, the whole time I'm there I'm going to have to keep an eye out for the ash. Not only is there an if, to whether or not my flight will be able to go, I will also have to worry about it on the way back.  I'm sure it will be fine but still not something you want to worry about. Volcanoes? Really?

3. Easyjet. Now for those of you that don't know I was meant to go to Berlin in February for the film festival, but sadly easyjet cancelled my ticket and the rest was history. So now as I face the big orange discount airline again I'm left wondering will this be round 2 of the trip-that-could-have-been. Must think positive.

Here we go, let's see what happens.