Those That Can, Cannes

Sure, there’s a whole lot of power brokering and well-heeled executives from around the world screeening content in Los Angeles this week.  But the really in crowd, as has been the case for most Mays since World War II, is gathering in the south of France.

Sure, Cannes is home to plenty of other global markets and shows.  MIPCOM and, until at least this spring, MIP TV are as significant and active a market as the LA Screenings, and in recent years all the more so as production and schedules have evolved from a singular fall focus.  There’s even a gathering of folks sort of like myself, a convention and intelligence showcase called Cannes Lions which, in the wake of the collapse of NATPE became a conference that the few still generous established entities, but more often than not emerging companies seeking to showcase their offerings and talent rosters and happily using startup money to do so.

Simply put, there are few showcase environs that are more breathtaking than Cannes.  And the Film Festival continues to be far and away the most star-studded, lavish and influential fortnight the seaside resort plays host to.  If you’re there, you’re most definitely among the cool kids.  Need proof?  It’s an invitation-only event.

That said, the website alo SIM does detail how one can snag an invite:

While the Cannes Film Festival is invitation only, there are six ways to snag an official invite with accreditation

6 Types of Accreditation
  1.  Film Professionals – This category is for those whom you would expect to be in attendance at Cannes, including actors, authors, producers, Public Relations, and any other employee connected with film production or promotion.
  2. Cinephiles – A great opportunity for people with a passion for film, this group includes invitations to film students, cinema clubs, and film or cultural associations.
  3. Three Days in Cannes – The best chance for young individuals to attend, Three Days in Cannes is precisely that: three days to attend the festival for people aged 18-28 who have a passion for film. 
  4. Marché du Film – Beyond the film viewings, this is a marketplace for all industry professionals and vendors for showcasing technologies, documentaries, animation, production, and networking. Accreditation goes to people in such roles as producers, directors, sales agents, and festival programmers, to name a few. 
  5. Marché du Film Online – Similar to the Marché du Film proper, the online version is also open for professionals to apply for accreditation to participate. 
  6. Press – Press are able to submit an accreditation request to be one of the 4,000 journalists in attendance. Applications include such items as information about the main media outlet, circulation, readership, and copies of recent publications. Similarly, audiovisual press and photographers can apply for accreditation with proof of their publication’s presence on-site at the festival. 

So if you are actually involved with the process of movie-making or the selling of it, it’s conceivable you can gain entry to the in crowd.  If you’re passionate and younger, those are two plusses.  But far and away, if you’re hot, it sure helps.

Each event has a Red Carpet and a step and repeat that showcase fashion and class, in a manner much more tasteful and elegant than, say, the Met Gala.  And yes, plenty of noteworthy films are showcased.  Among the buzziest so far this year include the gory and extreme horror of THE SUBSTANCE, a tour de force for its sixtysomething star Demi Moore, which the DAILY BEAST’s Esther Zuckerman finds both captivating and revolting at once:

When I say The Substance, the Demi Moore-starring movie that rocked Cannes, is bloody that’s an understatement. Take the amount of blood you think could be in this movie and double it. No, triple it. At one point during the runtime you will think you have seen the bloodiest part, but just you wait. It gets bloodier.

And yet the blood isn’t even the part of this wonderfully batshit body horror spectacular that had me almost throwing up. It’s a symphony of lurching flesh that might have you both gagging and cheering. The audience at my press screening of Cannes certainly did. We whooped, we gasped, and we clapped. It’s the grossest thing you will see all year.

And also making headlines is a potential savior to a so-far sluggish summer that will be released just in time for Memorial Day weekend, the latest and perhaps most evolved contribution to a still-potent franchise.  Per Wikipedia:

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga is a 2024 post-apocalyptic action adventure film co-produced and directed by George Miller, who co-wrote it with Nico Lathouris. It is the fifth installment in the Mad Max franchise, serving as both a spin-off and prequel to Mad Max: Fury Road (2015). The film stars Anya Taylor-Joy and Alyla Browne as younger versions of the title character Imperator Furiosa, originally portrayed by Charlize TheronChris Hemsworth and Tom Burke also star.  

But even in a paradise like this the worlds of political polarization and union activity are also making news.  Witness the reaction that came down yesterday to another premiering work, per AP “film writer” Jake Coyle:

Donald Trump’s reelection campaign called “The Apprentice,” a film about the former U.S. president in the 1980s, “pure fiction” and vowed legal action following its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival.  Steven Cheung, Trump campaign spokesperson, said in a statement that the Trump team will be file a lawsuit “to address the blatantly false assertions from these pretend filmmakers.”  “This garbage is pure fiction which sensationalizes lies that have been long debunked,” Cheung said.

“The Apprentice,” which premiered Monday in Cannes, stars Sebastian Stan as Trump. The central relationship of the movie is between Trump and Roy Cohn (Jeremy Strong), the defense attorney who was chief counsel to Joseph McCarthy’s 1950s Senate investigations of suspected communists.  In the film, directed by the Iranian Danish filmmaker Ali Abbasi, Cohn is depicted as a longtime mentor to Trump, coaching him in the ruthlessness of New York City politics and business. Early on, Cohn aided the Trump Organization when it was being sued by the federal government for racial discrimination in housing.

At a time where Trump’s relationship with another attorney with a similar surname is serving as crucial testimony in his trial, which one cannot wonder if that alone was part of the initial allure, if nothing else their timing is optimal, and will no doubt spark curiosity sampling at the Festival.

Assuming they can get around the picketers.  Because what would a gathering of beautiful artists be without labor issues?  DEADLINE’s Zac Ntim dropped this update as this musing was being prepared:

After a week of small and impromptu demonstrations, Cannes Film Festival workers are set to hold talks this afternoon with festival management, the CNC, and France’s other major entertainment unions about how to resolve their ongoing dispute over pay and worker benefits.

The last-minute meeting is being held here in Cannes. Other attendees include representatives from the French Ministries of Labor and Culture, Carrefour des Festivals, the Cannes Festival sidebar sections, the CGT, and the CFDT. We’re told the central topic of discussion will be how to streamline the complex hiring and compensation process for French festival workers.

You know, the ones that got accredidation but didn’t necessarily qualify for the step-and-repeats.

My one trip so far to Cannes (for a fall MIPTV conference decades ago) involved far less glamour  and a persistent chilly rain even denied me the chance to hobnon on the beach with those whose bodies demanded being shown off in bathing suits.  Not that anyone at the time would have been clamoring to see mine.

I still hold out somewhat pious hope for a return trip.  I know a few people who do qualify for invites, and I confess there’s more than a shred of envy about it.  The Film Festival is one of my quixotic bucket list items.

But you know what they say about those that can’t, right?

Until next time…



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