Film Scouts Diaries

2002 Cannes Film Festival Diaries
Frog Blog Four: Winding Down

by Philipp Hoschka

Cannes, May 23, 1999 - This will probably be my last day at the Festival this year, so I'm trying to meet everybody to say good-bye. When I arrive, it's pouring rain, and I can't find anybody, so I have an over-expensive lunch at the beach under an umbrella, and wait until the sun comes out again. Weather has been very nice this year overall - having a Film Festival on the French Riviera at this time of year is probably still one of the best ideas the Festival organizers ever had.

Overall, things seem to have calmed down a bit - that's quite usual, many people leave town before the end of the Festival, either because they go on a short holiday (Italy is only an hour away, and the south of France also has other attractions than a beach town full of film executives and star gazers), or because they are homesick and finally want to eat a real hamburger again (that's what I heard one person saying, and she was serious).

At night, the usual evening-dress- and tuxedo-clad movie goers are joined by women in Saris - Devdas is premiering in the Palais du Festival tonight. This year, there have been quite a few activities around India and "Bollywood" at the Festival, and this seems to be the crowning final. I manage to get an invitation to an Indian film - unfortunately, it's not Devdas, but Aag, a 1948 vintage "Bollywood" production - probably cineastically more interesting than Devdas, but I decide that I'm not enough of a cinephile to find out rather than enjoy the last mild Cannes night, so turn around in front of the screening room in the Palais.

At the "montee du marche" the conferencier uses the word "sublime" in every sentence when leading actress Aishwarya Rai starts mounting the stairs, but he keeps his cool compared to the person who described her at her website - "We take great joy of this heavenly creation of Brahma. She makes us think that why should God be so ruthless to concentrate on one of his works alone so much. She is beautiful, intelligent, talented, cute, wonderful, fabulous, elegant and ....well, we certainly run short of words describing this angelic beauty." Well, you get the picture, elle n'est pas mal du tout, as we say here - still, the movie is two hours 35 minutes, so I'm glad I can't go.

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