Way back when (read: last year), those in the know came to Cannes a couple of days ahead of time. By car, plane or train, they headed for Cannes over the weekend; on Sunday night, the Americans took the Delta Cannes Express (New York - Nice nonstop), they arrived in Cannes on Monday morning, set up camp in their hotel room, unpacked, checked out the Majestic bar, the Carlton bar, made reservations at La Cave (now more difficult to get in than le Cirque 2000... except for Film Scouts), checked out their beach, selected their table and their waiter. Everything to make one's Festival as smooth as possible. The operative phrase was, "No work until Tuesday," (the day we all rush to the Palais to pick up our credentials at the Press Office).
Well, no more. These days, journalists as well as PRs arrive on the Friday preceding the Festival, and the operative phrase is now: "Before the madness begins..." As a result, you're working full blast nearly a whole week before you're supposed to. Adieu unwinding.
I resisted. I got my scooter, my portable phone, which I turned off immediately, and headed for 'home away from home.' Festival after festival, I stay in a small villa up in the Cannes hills. The villa is located in a little enclave so quiet you feel you're in the countryside. It's six minutes away by scooter from the Palais des Festivals, but light years afar from the madding crowd. It does wonders to your sanity.
Except, of course, I am going insane trying to make my new Hewlett Packard palmtop work. The Jornada is a gem, and I intend to use it as an omnibus notebook throughout the Festival, but the keyboard layout is Anglo-Saxon (I usually type on a French layout) so when I type fast, it comes out in a language unknown to man and I don't know yet how to get on line with it (no AOL built-in software)... Well, I have two days to conquer the beast - and conquer it I will.
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