I have long been of the opinion that Cannes is an indulgence to US press. Starting my third year covering the festival, I have to say, nothing’s changed that opinion.
But like Telluride, it’s a lovely indulgence.
It’s the most civil film festival of the biggies. The schedule is loaded, but manageable. The town is touristy, but sanity is just blocks away. The weather, for which I am missing L.A.’s first severe heatwave of the year, is coastal cool and sunny, with bouts of rain.
And oh, by the way, the movie selection of world premieres is world class. Even when they suck, they are challenging and worth the pain for lovers of cinema.
The competition element is the least attractive element of Cannes. Of course, it is the most written about because that is what journalism looks like these days. There are many fine exceptions to this rule, including the New York Times, which could care less about the game, but loves to consider the players.
I am a bit of a monk at film festivals. I see a lot of people I know, like, and love. But if I could sit in those dark rooms for 18 hours a day, IV-drip feeding me, I would be happy.
This year, for the first time, I have a producer with me for DP/30. So I hope to see films and then just show up for interviews and embrace the talent. That could be my only improvement on 18 hours in a theater. Ten hours and 3 or 4 hours talking to filmmakers about their work. I hope it plays out well.
But for now, it’s a decent night’s sleep (as defined by the father of a 4-year-old), some bread, some cheese, a coffee with creme, and a beautiful, sunny morning on the Croisette.
It’s definitely an indulgence. No Oscars will be secured here. No box office (or even distribution) in America assured. No one outside of The Bubble will care much what happens here.
But the power of cinema will be celebrated, if not by the media or the hordes taking endless photos or the publicity machines, by the movies themselves. There is no avoiding that. The power of cinema is more powerful than the parade.
And so, once more I indulge.