May 28, 2012

A Farewell to Cannes

I find this title fitting, especially after seeing Hemingway and Gellhorn. I'm currently sitting in my bed, the one at my house, evaluating the incredible experience that just happened to me.

But first, let me share with you my experience earlier in the day. Gary, Ari, Hayley and I shared a cab to the airport. We got there and realized this was our last opportunity to make it to Longchamp for our sisters and moms. We ran from Terminal 2 to Terminal 1, only to discover that we needed to go back to Terminal 2, where our flight was leaving from. I felt so bad for Gary and Ari. Anyway, we got to the store only to find the most horrible, minuscule collection of bags I had ever seen. And none for Jenna. Sad days.

It was soon time to board the plane. We stood up, only to find ourselves standing behind Tye Sheridan aka Ellis aka the star of Mud, the Jeff Nichols film starring Matthew McCounaghey and Reese Witherspoon. He was with his family and we talked to him for 20 minutes. First of all, we were thrilled to finally be able to tell him about our anger at his not being the first actor listed in the end credits. That was something we had wanted to say and were thrilled to have said it. Then we went on talking about the actual process he went through during filming. He told us that he was schooled on set in Arkansas rather than in his home of Texas, over three hours away. His mom, who was so sweet, told us that it was a huge strain on the family, but that it was worth it for her son to be able to live out his dream, especially because he really is such a talented kid. The conversation continued all the way to the plane, until Alec Baldwin swooped him and snatched him away from us. Oh well. The price of being on the cusp of celebrity.

On the plane, Hayley and I sat next to each other in the aisle and window, respectively, with Gary just across the aisle, which was very exciting.  I watched a few movies (finally seeing The Muppets, which I adored) and had a very pleasant flight, as Hayley and I spread all over each other.

We landed, I got picked up after saying bye, and now, here I am, sitting in bed, thinking over all that I have learned.

May 27, 2012

Cannes, Day 12: Tears from Above

Waking up to bid Sharon adieu was not a fun experience, but alas, one that needed to be done. We parted ways, leaving three of us to fend for ourselves.

So we did what we always do- see a movie. This time it was Holy Motors, which had premiered earlier int he competition to rave reviews. Gary actually told us that he expected it to win the Palme, which, after seeing Amour, was a statement I took with skepticism. We waited outside the Debussy for a bit, and once we were let in, were shoved up to the balcony. Fortunately for us, we were able to snag the first row, providing us with a comfortable foot rest.

I was tired, and was concerned that I would fall asleep during the film. I had not slept in any film except for 15 minutes of Pas Tenebras Lux, so I really wanted to keep up with myself. Fortunately, the movie kept me engaged the entire time, and ultimately became my favorite movie - the one I hoped would win the Palme. I also decided that no matter what, this film has to be one of the two I write about in my final paper.  Read more about the movie here.

After the movie, the torrential downpour began. It must have been my own sadness falling down, each drop that hit my head was one that I felt inside. But still, Hayley and I tried to run some errands. Longchamp - fail. Poster tube - fail. "Oh, what is life?" we lamented to one another.

We got back and the thunder began. We decided not to try and beg for the closing ceremonies. As hard as we had worked, drenching my tux was not worth the 25 minute ceremony. So we just sat and relaxed and cried (internally, of course). Then it was time for Arthur to leave. Even more sadness.

Hayley and I had wanted to go to this restaurant for dinner that was recommended to us by a friend, and, luckily, the rain had cleared up. Unfortunately, there was a giant stop sign in front of the restaurant in the form of the owner, who told us that there was no way we would be eating there without a reservation.

Ultimately, it was for the best, as we  ended up eating with Nicola, Peter, Takara, Ari, Gary and Deedee. We had a great meal at the place we ate the first night, with a full conversation that ended up being a nice way to close the program.

We talked about the winners of the festival - we all agreed that it was fair for Amour to win the Palme, as it was my second favorite film. We were also all thrilled that Beasts of the Southern Wild won the Camera d'Or, as we were all thoroughly impressed by the incredible technique and storytelling of the film. Lastly, I was  excited that my prediction that Mads Mikkelsen would win Best Actor for The Hunt was correct.

After that, Gary and Takara and I went to a bar, where we hung out until 2. It was a great night to say goodbye, but it still couldn't stop the sinking feeling in my heart that this once in a lifetime opportunity was over.

May 26, 2012

Cannes, Day 11: The Day Arthur Became King

Day 11 of Cannes began with the first of our impending goodbyes as Rawson and Zoe bid us adieu as they returned to the Big Apple. Rawson joined Hayley, Sharon, and I for a farewell breakfast before catching his 11:00 cab to the airport.

But the show must go on, and on we went into town in an effort to capture some posters for ourselves, because they had been out of stock every time we tried. We stopped in a gift shop where the guy tried to overprice us and wouldn't show us the merchandise. We walked out in a rage, only to discover that the Official Boutique still did not have a shipment in! So we went away, prepared to try again that afternoon, as per the clerk's suggestion.

But then the shining sun (which we had anticipated to be hidden behind a mask of clouds) got even brighter after Arthur told us that we were cordially invited aboard his dad's colleague's brother-in-law's boat. We booked it back to the college and put on our swimsuits. We had to get on this boat. It was one of the things we had wanted to do while in Cannes, and we were in shock that it was really happening.

We walked over to the pier, stopping at a little food stand that ended up being amazing, much to our surprise. It looked shabby, so we had always avoided it: a prime example of judging a book by its cover. Alas.

So we hopped onto the boat with the guy and his 3 friends. They were so friendly and nice to us, and we got to talking about the film festival and what our favorite movies are. It was very refreshing to talk to someone who came to the festival for business but still took advantage of and valued the artistic integrity of the films.

The ride was beautiful. Clear, blue sea for miles. We weaved through the luxury yachts around us, making our way to the myriad of boats parked between these two islands. We parked, and I took off my shirt, ready to enter the water. I dipped in a toe and it was damn cold. But I wanted to go in. So I stepped back and leapt. The guys started laughing at me, telling me I was crazy, but Hayley quickly followed suit. After a bit of hesitancy, Arthur and Sharon jumped in as well into the super salty sea.

After some hanging out, a bit of wine, and some great conversation, we headed back into shore. It was a wonderful afternoon, and we were all on such a high as we breezed into the port. We got off the boat and ran to the poster shop. Success was ours! We were thrilled. But we didn't have much time if we wanted to get into the premiere of Mud, so we sprinted back and changed faster than a speeding bullet. We hurried back (Arthur didn't come, as he had seen the movie in the morning) and began to beg our asses off.

Luck came quickly (shocking) and Hayley and I managed to snag an Orchestra ticket each, while I also got Sharon a balcony. I have this natural gift for getting tickets. It's a skill.

We got some soft serve ice cream. Mint Chip!!! And Hayley finally got her soft serve chocolate banana. She loves banana flavored things. Loves. Anyway, we walked up the red carpet (12th time) and sat in our seats. To our excitement, Hayley and I were both by the aisle that the director and cast walk down! We were so excited to see Jeff Nichols walk in, followed by Matthew McCounaughey and Reese Witherspoon. The movie was really good - not amazing - just very, very good. Read more about that here.

The standing o lasted for quite some time, and the boys who were the leads were brought to tears. Heart-wrenching. They walked out, and we followed, meeting Arthur outside the palais.

Now, as if Arthur hadn't already done so enough for us today, he surprised us with invitations to a closed party (open bar) hosted by Schweppes. We grabbed dinner at this wonderful little restaurant and ran over to meet the person who was letting us in at 10:30. We walked inside and were the first people there, so we waited a bit, and suddenly, the party was hopping. The drinks were great, the beach was open, and we were so excited to be there. Thank you Arthur Cohen.

We had a great time, but Hayley and Sharon wanted to go at around 1:30. Arthur and I stayed a bit later, before rushing to McDonald's to grab some food. We headed back and prepared to crash after a great evening. Arthur went to bed, and I was getting ready, but then Whit came into the room and told me that people were going to the beach, so I went with him and Jaycee. We hung out there for awhile, listening to music and talking, before heading back in. My head hit the pillow, my eyes closed, and I was out like a light.

May 25, 2012

Cannes, Day 10: 10 on 10

I woke up this morning in a daze from the after party from the night before. I turned to the clock and saw that it was 8:30 and released a heavy groan. But I figured, hey, might as well check out the ticket portal, and I managed to snag an orchestra seat for the HBO produced Hemingway and Gellhorn at the nighttime premiere. With that, I went back to bed, sporadically woken up by people passing through the room until I finally managed to get up to play pool with Rawson before our meeting at noon.

The meeting was very helpful in fleshing out thoughts about the final paper and serving as a forum for any discussion about the festival as a whole. Sandwiches were served and all. We then left, having to go pick up the tickets and needing food. We ended up going to this amazing natural gelato place called Amorino, which apparently has a location in NYC (a dangerous tidbit of information). Arthur's cousin came as well, which was great.

Then Hayley, Sharon and I decided to try the McDonald's. Arthur said that the nuggets were way better here and real chicken. I never eat fast food so this was a big deal for me. As it would turn out, Arthur spoke in the truest form of bullshit. The nuggets were the same! But we powered through, went back to our rooms to nap, and then got ready for the premiere.

We managed to snag tickets for Cosmopolis in all of five minutes, but it was raining so we sprinted inside. It was our tenth red carpet on day ten. Pretty cool, right?

The film itself was very eh, but Sharon had a great time sitting right behind Alexander Payne and Ewan McGregor! Read about the film here.

We then ran and got food (Arthur and Rawson went back) and went back for the premiere of Hemingway and Gellhorn. I got pretty close to the cast this time. The film was enjoyable - very TV movie - and there were some major flaws, but it was interesting at the very least. Read more about that here.

We got back, and now I'm ready to call it a night. We are having breakfast fairly early tomorrow to say goodbye to Rawson! I can't believe I have only two days left...

Cannes, Day 9: My Date with Nicole

Today was an incredible day, star-studded and full of... very interesting films. I woke up in the morning and immediately opted to check my ticket portal, and to my excitement, I discovered that Post Tenebras Lux had available invitations! I couldn't have been more excited, so without even considering whether or not I wanted to see the film, I snatched up a ticket to be picked up later.

Rawson and I had a quick breakfast before we made our way to the Salle du 60 in order to see the 11:00 showing of On the Road, the adaptation of the beat novel by Jack Kerouac. It was a 2 hour and 40 minute movie, so we were well aware that we wanted to be in this theater, with its comfortable seats and extra leg room, rather than sit through the premiere the night before. I stopped into the ticketing room to pick up the one I had reserved, which was quite an exciting experience. I felt so important.

We sat in line for awhile, under the harsh, beating, unforgiving Mediterranean sun. Fortunately, I remembered to lotion. Hayley and Sharon arrived to meet us, and had remembered to pick up a copy of Screen. We made our way into the screening and proceeded to sit through a faithful and fairly well-done adaptation of the book that went on forty minutes too long, which I'll tell you more about in my review.

After, we stopped to see if more tickets for the premiere of The Paperboy were available. They weren't. So we grabbed some lunch and headed back. I needed to change into my tux early in order to be ready for The Paperboy after Post Tenebras Lux.

We were running a bit late, so we sprinted to the Lumiere. I was uncomfortably sweaty, but the cool theater quickly remedied that. The film was odd, confusing, beautiful, and... I'm not really sure what to make of it. Here are my thoughts, but I may need to re-evaluate them soon.

We then began begging for The Paperboy. I was with Rawson in the orchestra, and we quickly found tickets for Sharon, Arthur, and Hayley, although Sharon was in serious panic mode. But we knew we would get in, especially after one of the members of the jury, Raoul Peck, wished us luck with our begging. The tickets that flew into our hands were no surprise. We shmoozed for a bit, took some pictures, and I got a mint chip soft serve cone (yum!). We then went inside. Rawson and I were able to go in immediately, and walked the red carpet with our faces plastered on the jumbotron (according to others. We weren't paying attention). Unfortunately, the others did not get into the main theater, but were able to see the film in the Bazin.

Then, the magic happened. Rawson and I got aisle seats, so when the cast and director arrived, they walked right by us. John Cusack smiled directly at me (which Rawson can confirm via video). The rest of the cast filed suit - Matthew McConaughey, Zac Efron, John Cusack, Macy Gray, and of course, the statuesque Nicole Kidman, one of my favorite actresses with looks that I can only imagine are what the Greeks used to imagine Aphrodite.

The film itself was very good, with stellar performances by everyone, particularly Kidman, which you can read more about here. The applause was enormous, lasting for almost twenty minutes. The cast walked by us again on their way out, and when Nicole walked by, I said, "You were amazing." She smiled at me and said, "Thank you." My heart dropped and I was on cloud nine. In fact, I'm still not fully prepared to write the review because the experience of the premiere was so incredible.

We left with our usual crew and went back to dinner at the place from the night before. We had a great time, but everyone was exhausted, except for me. So when they all opted to go home, I met up with Zoe, and the two of us managed to go to the after party for the film! As we entered, we brushed shoulders with an exiting Reese Witherspoon and her husband. The celebrities had left, but we had a great time with the copious amounts of free food and the most delectably dry champagne. After a full night of fun and conversation, we parted ways, and I collapsed on my bed after a thoroughly fulfilling day.

May 24, 2012

Cannes, Day 8: I Can Barely Recognize the Sun

Today was a day that we decided would be film free, a day of sun, beach, and the pure, unadulterated outdoors. And by pure, unadulterated, I mean highly commercialized and crowded beaches, but either way that was simply the way it had to be. We needed to rejuvenate after seeing 20 films.

So when I woke up, Rawson and I grabbed a quick breakfast before joining the rest of our group for a meeting with Jeff Berg, the head of ICM. We discussed the rise of digital media and the affect it will have on the industry as well as the way that film and television has to be reinterpreted in a constantly shifting world. While I found that valuable, as it quickly became clear that this discussion is THE current discussion pervading the industry,what I found most valuable was his reassurance that the liberal arts background I am getting at Penn is what his company seeks in new employees. Maybe I will get a job after all!

After the meeting, Hayley, Sharon and I ran straight to the beach and spread out, soaking in some rays (heavily screened, of course). We hung out there for awhile until Rawson and Arthur later joined us, at which point Arthur finally gave me the courage to submerge myself in the frigid water. Once I was in, it was thoroughly refreshing, although the purple under my fingernails indicated minor frostbite. We swam for awhile and then went back to warm up.

Next on our list was Haagen Dazs, in an effort to provide Hayley with her very first Mint Chip Dazzler, something I hold near and dear to my heart. Unfortunately, we got there only to realize that they didn't have mint, and, even worse, they seemed to have specials that served ice cream in... moderation. It was far beyond my comprehension, but Rawson and I got this amazing cookie thing so I was content.

We got back, and Arthur and I beached a bit more while everyone else went inside. Then we showered, changed, etc. in preparation for dinner. We found this amazing hole in the wall on our favorite cobblestone street, in what was probably our best dinner yet. For an appetizer I had an upside down apple tart with seared foie gras. Yes, you read right. I was in heaven. Being the generous soul I am, I let everyone try a bite. Arthur loves foie gras and died a little bit. For the others (Hayley, Sharon, Rawson), who had never tasted it before, it was a jaw-dropping experience.

Next I got a full sea bass, head included, followed by a chocolate mousse. And we had a giant bottle of rose. A perfect dinner. We left, trying to go to a screening, but we failed, alas. On our way back, we played foosball, at which Sharon and I kicked Arthur and Rawson's asses, much to our surprise. After, we went back and played some ping pong. Arthur, despite his claims at being a nationally ranked player in France, still failed miserably against me (as did Rawson), but the two of them had an excellent, highly competitive match. Arthur won by the skin of his teeth.

The three of us tried to watch Kill Bill, Vol. 1 and got through quite a bit of it before Rawson announced that it was bedtime. He has yet to see the Crazy 88, so I'm excited for him to experience that, as Arthur and I have both seen the movie around 3 trillion times. I think we should have finished the movie, so I'll just say to Rawson, "Silly rabbit. Trix are for. Kids."