Film Scouts Diaries

1998 Cannes Film Festival Diaries
Cannes Diary #1: Arrival

by Cari Beauchamp

I finally arrived late yesterday -- Saturday afternoon -- after two Lufthansa flights that convinced me Priceline must be doing a booming business -- there was not a single empty seat on either flight. All you second hand smoke combatants will be glad to know that the Germans have been beaten again -- the airline went to all flights non smoking on the first of this month. I on the other hand was feeling just a bit out of sorts when we finally landed in Nice and in no mood to be told that the shuttles that always could be depended upon to take journalists into Cannes had just been stopped at noon. Thank you very much.

After collecting my bags and having that long awaited smoke, I returned to the non operating shuttle stand to inquire what else they suggested --- three choices: the bus that cost 100 francs ($20) and another would leave in an hour and a half and take an hour; a cab that would run almost $100 and take half an hour or the helicopter that was $75 and took 7 minutes. A helicopter. OK --- $75 was not cheap, but 7 minutes was fast and after all this was my 20th year in Cannes and I had never seen it from the sky. (Yes, I usually do spend this much time with rationalizations -- in fact, this was a relatively quick one)

Why the helicopter is cheaper than a cab is yet another mystery of Cannes, but so be it. One of the reasons I love it here is you just accept these seemingly ridiculous realities with "that's France." So with three other passengers, I walked back through the small terminal to have my bags scanned once again and loaded into a van. We drove for what seemed like several miles before pulling up to the tiniest little copter but with three in the back and one next to the pilot we all fit in. My hair got caught in the door and I flagged madly to the crewman outside to open it again, but after that trauma I gave the pilot the thumbs up before I stuck it my mouth. I tried to be subtle as I checked the door handle again but by then we had taken off or should I say up - straight up. I reminded myself that in a previous job I had ridden in a helicopter dozens of times and loved it, but then I remembered that was before I was a mother.

Then I looked out and all fears evaporated. Flying over this glorious coastline at only a couple hundred feet in air was breathtaking. We passed over the Hotel du Cap in all its glory with its pool abutting the sea where Scott Fitzgerald taught the Murphy children to swim. I felt sorry for anyone trying to navigate the suddenly mundane roads below and basked in the beauty of the Riviera as I had never seen it before. And then suddenly we were over the Palm Beach -- the old casino that now is used for parties at the end of the bay of Cannes -- and aiming for a small painted white circle. It was over almost as it started but it was great for the few minutes it lasted.

My exhaustion had left me, replaced by exhilaration. They even have a van waiting to take you right to your hotel and after a quick shower and a trip to the Palais to get my pass and a schedule, I was ready to see old friends and new movies.

Friends I saw, but movies had to wait until this morning and the film in competition at the 8:30 am screening this morning was the Italian "Life is Beautiful" -- La Vita e Bella -- a comedy about the Holocaust. That's true, but not really fair because it is a film about a Jew who loves life so much he cannot believe what he sees coming down around him in 1938 and fights it the only way he can - with humor and faith in the people around him to share his outlook.

Next Installment

Back to Cannes Film Festival Diaries

Look for Search Tips

Copyright 1994-2008 Film Scouts LLC
Created, produced, and published by Film Scouts LLC
Film Scouts® is a registered trademark of Film Scouts LLC
All rights reserved.

Suggestions? Comments? Fill out our Feedback Form.