Film Scouts Diaries

1997 Cannes Film Festival Diaries
Day 1: Cold on the Croisette

by Richard Schwartz

CANNES, May 7 - "Cold" was the word of the day along the Croisette on this first day of the festival. "Cold" as in the critical reception given to tonight's opener, the lackluster Luc Besson-Bruce Willis effort "The Fifth Element." "Cold" as in the manner in which I was treated by the hulking French security guard who, as I was busy collecting the free daily trades from the lobby of the Carlton this morning, summarily ejected me from the hotel. And "cold" as in the weather.

That's right, the Riviera is chilly. What better way to celebrate the grand dame's golden jubilee than with a thermometer reading of 50 degrees farenheit. And that sound you just heard is the derisive laughter of all those L.A.-based studio execs who perhaps rather wisely decided to skip the festival and bask in the relatively balmy heat of the San Fernando Valley.

Yes, I was sold the fable of the French Riviera as a tropical "Club Med" setting long ago, so my arrival to a brisk Cannes this week proved a rather humbling experience. The man at my hotel told me it was dry and warm for the past three months, so now "Mother Nature is catching up."
Right. Thanks, Cannes. My first festival and I'm donning a North Face parka. If it had been this cold at previous festivals, Simone Silva would've never struck her famous topless pose on the beach. The all-night yacht parties that made Cannes legendary would've never occurred. And, worst of all, if it remains this chilly, the Spice Girls might not take to the beachfront stage on Friday to promote their new film deal.

Here's hoping for 80 degrees and sunny tomorrow.

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