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Cannes: Tears, Tennis and Taking Control

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It was a rather traumatic start to Day Two in Cannes. I wasn't sure if it was the lack of sleep (already) or the early 8am trip to the cinema. But as I sat down to watch Jacques Audiard's Rust & Bone, I had no idea of the emotional wreck I'd become exactly two hours later.

A killer whale attack, bare knuckle fighting and life on the poverty line doesn't sound great on paper but there's good reason this film has sparked excitement on la Croisette. It arrived in Cannes pre-sold and is being touted as this year's The Artist. French sensation Marion Cotillard puts in a stunning performance. I was apprehensive about whether I'd believe she was paraplegic - but the effects were so convincing, I didn't give it a second thought despite it having such a massive impact every time I saw that her legs were missing. She even tattoos them left and right! Word on the street is that she could be on her way to picking up her second Oscar. I'll have more on her and her co-star Matthias Schoenaerts (who made a name for himself in Bullhead) tomorrow when I sit down for a little chat with both.

As well as the glitz, it's worth remembering that Cannes is very much about the business side of things. Ashok Amritraj, chairman of distributors Hyde Park Entertainment (the people behind Shopgirl and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance) popped by our Variety Live @ Cannes studio to tell me all about what it takes to achieve box office success: "You need a great script to start off with. It all revolves around that. That attracts the stars and the director. Then I think the marketing and distribution of the film is crucial. You see so many wonderful films that don't get properly marketed, and then you see some that are not that great that get marketed in a superb way by one of the studios and it goes out there and becomes a hit. So I think 50% of it is the creative and the production and 50% is the distribution and marketing".

I was rather amused to discover that Ashok is a former pro-tennis player and ATP could soon be given a run for their money: "I used to hang out in Monaco in the early days and play the Princess Grace celebrity tennis tournament. In fact, Prince Albert and I won the doubles there. So I've grown up around these parts in a way and it's great fun - the parties are always great. I have tennis games at my house Saturday mornings in LA. We have quite a good group... stars, studio executives... it's a sought-after tennis game!" Name dropper!

To end my evening on a glamorous note I headed off to Nikki Beach for a cocktail party to celebrate photographer Stephane Kossman. I still don't know who he/she is?! The party had ended before I arrived. A good friend of mine told me that in Cannes 'the party is where you make it'. I'm still waiting to make it... but I'm always up for a party.

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