I’ve tried to write this post a couple of times before now but it’s taken until today to fully process what can only be described as an absolutely epic time at the Cannes Film Festival…
One of the most famous film festivals in the world, it was the third time I’ve had the pleasure of attending this iconic celebration of film* and it didn’t disappoint…
(*For those unfamiliar with my film work, you can view over on my revamped site here: vpsarias.co.uk)
…So I’ve been lucky enough to have holidayed in the South of France since I was a child, mostly Nice, Antibes, Grasse and St Tropez so I feel I know these parts well, however no holiday can prepare you for the utter thrill, delight and sheer power of The Croissette in May where even the paparazzi wear black tie (and the dogs too it seems!) with the whole riviera wrapped up in red carpets and A listers as far as the eye can see.
Posing-we did a lot of that!
Told you even the dogs wear tuxes in Cannes!
First and foremost, I feel privileged to have been accredited to attend the festival again and thus able to preview so many touching, thought provoking, utterly mesmerising films, with the stand out film for me being the Italian Incompresa ‘Misunderstood’ (in the Un Certain Regard section) starring Chartlotte Gainsbourg and unflinchingly led by female director Asia Argento.
This cutting edge melodrama follows young protagonist Giulia Salerno, Aria, 9 abandoned by her fame hungry parents, sister and friends as she attempts with gusto to remarkably find her own way in life, until quite literally, is pushed too far. Heart wrenching at times, humorous at others, Misunderstood was enthralling from start to finish and I urge you to see it as soon as it’s released.
Other highlights were the short films in competition (the star filmmakers of tomorrow), Julianne Moore’s crazed performance as Hollywood dame in David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars and of course the spell-binding Palme d’Or winner Winter Sleep – a Turkish film by director Nuri Bilge Ceylan.
Whiles there, Amancay Tapia my great friend, (a feature filmmaker and actress) and I also met our film heroes-chatting to iconic directors Quentin Tarantino (even larger in life than I imagined both physically and in personality-sadly no pictures allowed) and the Oscar nominated German director Wim Wenders above, who queued with us to view a film (only in Cannes).
We also stood next to the iconic beauty Sophia Loren (wow!) despite her masterclass being over subscribed, we overhead Harvey Weinstein asking his PA to take notes in the street and walked past Tamara Ecclestone and her beautiful bouncing baby in pink bonnet as we all walked down the Croisette in the sunshine.
With very cool Italian filmmaking duo above!
It was equally wonderful to meet up with actors and crew I’ve directed through my work as a filmmaker in TV drama and film such as the actress Angela Dixon above and with Sound Designer Vanesa Lorena Tate of Tate Post next to who sound designed my award winning short Broken.
I also connected with new producers, cinematographers and directors and world renowned journalists and film critics (including the very flirty but fabulous Jason Solomons below- and Hollywood Foreign Press Associate Sam Asi-friends with George Clooney no less) with great discussion on my dual careers of blogging and directing…
Here with the lovely Raj Sharma, producer of new Luke Perry movie: The Beat Beneath my Feet.
In between films, along with Amancay and another fabulous friend of ours Nicci Topping (features and commercials casting director), we dined on exquisite French food and ice cream (another post dedicated to Southern French cuisine coming soon), held meetings at the gradiose hotels from the Majestic to the Carlton and the Grand Hotel, escaped to the picture perfect beach front when we could and of course, partied ’till our heels could take no more!
…And in truth that usually meant we partied all night long (and how I loved it) attending at least three parties a night on average and these were definitely not your average parties let me tell you- stunningly catered for, free flowing champagne and cocktails (please don’t hate us) and DJ’s playing under the stars in open air clubs on the beach, yacht parties and sponsored pre film and after parties…well it was Cannes after all, darling!
Cannes by Night…
…We particularly adored the Grey Goose parties we found ourselves at most nights for low key Parisian chic beats and sugared-lemon vodka cocktails handmade for all.
I thought I was hilarious trying out the party props! This is what happens post-cocktails!
…I naturally took lots of dresses with me from high street to designer and must thank Fever London for gifting me their stunning Rachelle pencil dress in red (perfect for the festival) which made me feel a million dollars with it’s deep v-neck and flattering body con shape.
Everyone thought Amancay and I were sisters and in our 20’s (love the French)!
…So with fabulous frocks on, we were flatteringly not short of male attention and often by handsome French actors and filmmakers to boot…Luckily for me my husband is part French and a stunner inside and out but it would be fair to say the girls and I certainly appreciated the view! Haha!
There is more to tell, so much more but sadly not enough white space to truly illustrate the magic, the joy, the full impact of the Festival de Cannes this year…
…The excitement which builds in the depths of the dark auditorium moments before the films begin and clapping, acknowledgment of what it takes to make a film… the passion of attendees pitching, selling, promoting their ideas, stories, screenplays and finished films, the cinephiles who queue and queue for hours for the love of film, the cast and crew attending premiers, relishing the honour, the prestige…the bright lights, flashing cameras, perfect smiles, timeless style, sheer kindness of the locals, the smell of hot crepes on the croissette, the spectacle framed within the crashing waves beneath the power yachts and dancing sun… the sheer emotion on screen with every single frame, illuminating, transporting us unflinchingly through time and space…it’s hypnotic, enrapturing… a heady hypnotic ‘can’t sleep, don’t want to miss a beat’ Cannes I’ll cherish forever more.
…I hope my pictures will help finish the story I’ve begun…
Beach cinema by night
Finally, I returned home anxious and excited to see my family again whom I missed so much, feeling stimulated yet relaxed, reconnected and refreshed, having felt I’d captured a little Cannes sparkle just for myself…
What a festival!