And so it begins... the opening day of Cannes started relatively quiet. Yes, there were noticeably more people on the streets but by mid-afternoon everyone on la Croisette was either in a ballgown or paparazzi and desperate to get into anything. Random punters were holding placards and banners asking for any spare tickets in the hope of being able to rub shoulders with the stars.
The 65th Cannes Film Festival promises to be one of the most celebby and the first night didn't disappoint. Director Wes Anderson opened with his new film Moonrise Kingdom. The film's stars Tilda Swinton, Bruce Willis and Ed Norton couldn't resist popping on their finest threads and turned out in support. There were a few other high-profile guests to keep the crowds happy - Alec Baldwin, Eva Longoria (I'm off to a boat party with her later this week), Harvey Weinstein and Chris Pine. Our Variety Live studio is directly opposite la Palais so I managed to sneak a peek during rehearsals for our first show to see what all the fuss and screams were about.
I've seen the film and can sum it up in a word... 'Kooky'! From the off, you can tell this film has been Wes'd. It's like watching a puppet show inside a doll's house with the obligatory dysfunctional family. The fact the film is up for the Palme d'Or and opened the festivities cements Anderson as genre-defining.
Another director whose name just needs a whisper to get tongues wagging is Roman Polanski. He's the subject of a new documentary by Laurent Bouzereau. While it's certainly sympathetic it's also definitely one clever piece of PR. There were tears in the eyes of some of the most hardened journos as Roman opened up and told of his harrowing experience growing up in occupied Poland. His film The Pianist is basically his early memories of that time. But he wasn't so transparent about THAT other part of his life. The film is carefully managed when it comes to discussing the incident that led to his 1977 charge of unlawful sex with an underage girl. He might be one of the world's most famous directors but his contribution to cinema will always it seems be overshadowed by that.
There are rumours he's going to be coming into town for the festival. It will be a rare appearance by one of the film world's most controversial figures. The paps' stepladders will remain propped outside la Palais, because while it might be awkward to watch, the world IS still watching the Roman Polanski show.
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