Film Scouts on the Riviera 1999

1999 Cannes Film Festival Diaries
Day 1 (Part I)

by Henri Béhar

Film Scouts on the Riviera 1999 is brought to you by:

CANNES, Wednesday, May 12

"C 'est parti, mon kiki!" as they say here, which can be loosely translated as "We're on, boonga!", as the late Toronto Festival programmer David Overbey was fond of saying. Indeed, yesterday, the Festival started with a bang - make that bang bang bang, as chaotic construction was going on everywhere and cars collided right and left, well beyond the Croisette, well beyond the Voie rapide (the in-city highway) and turned half the town into one huge traffic jam.

The Palais des Festivals - also know as "the bunker" - is getting a three-story-high annex which is taking over the peninsula just behind the Palais, shamelessly blocking sea view to the festival staff on the lower floors, thereby causing a slight extra tension on a normally hectic day. The Majestic Hotel is still redoing its entrance courtyard. On Tuesday night, you couldn't walk in, by noon on Wednesday, everything was (sort of) back to normal. I wish they fixed my balcony in Manhattan that fast.

Finally, the powers that be blocked the traffic on most of the Croisette, reducing it to two lanes and changing the direction. Again, unless you're Faye Dunaway or Claudia Schiffer, the only way to travel in Cannes is on a scooter...

I thought my day would start only at 9:30 AM, with the press screening of the opening night film, Nikita Mikhalkov's Barber of Siberia. Nope, a frantic phone call from BBC 1 persuaded me to join the British crew behind the Palais for a live chat during their "Breakfast" program. The words and phrases that come back most often in their questions are "Celebrities" and "Do you have any anecdotes...?" Anyway, I shared the billing, so to speak, with the Troma gang, 100% singing, 100% dancing (and I use these words liberally). The Toxic Avenger for breakfast? I guess that tells a lot about the Brits.

Gotta go see the movie. More later.

Previous Installment | 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.