Film Scouts Diaries

1998 Cannes Film Festival Diaries
Cannes Diary #1: A First Timer in Cannes

by Steve Berman

CANNES, May 20 - The moment I stepped of the bus I knew three things about Cannes: the most beautiful women in the world are here, I needed a pair of really cool sunglasses, and that if I was anybody worth a damn I needed tickets to the "Armageddon" premiere party.

Here's what I've learned since: Like the world in "A Tale of Two Cities," the world of Cannes is divided into the Haves and Have-Nots. I started out as one of the thousands of Have-Nots. We gather in mass along the festival sites and hope to catch a glimpse of the Haves. Perhaps we'll get to flex a little persuasive charm and weasel our way into their exclusive world. At night, we pile outside the house music parties, fantasizing about the glamorous lifestyles of the Haves inside. But then...

I got that all important festival pass! I was now somebody who could walk through those doorways and the blue-coated security men couldn't stop me. Now I saw what's really going on, wheeling and dealing, buying and selling. Forget the Palme d'Or, this festival is about selling "Crappy B-Movie" to distributors in Albania. Interesting, but still no celebrities.

Through a little hobnobbing, I got invited to two parties. This was it. I thought by midnight I'd be doing tequilla shots with Johnny Depp and grind dancing with Clare Danes. I strolled on in and discovered - ta-da! - that this wasn't the world of the Haves, these were the Have-A-Little-Mores. The Have-A-Little-Mores are the business people, very important to the industry, but to you and me who cares when we want Winona Ryder.

The Haves, it turns out, are miles down the beach amongst themselves, occassionally helicoptering in for a brief press appearance and then it's back to the secret world of celebrity.

For a moment, I was devastated. But then I succumbed to the same joyous realization that all the Have-Nots succumb to... the thrill of dancing and drinking the night away in the most beautiful place in the world.

Oh, I saw a couple movies, too.

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