Cannes: preparing for the fwestoovarl

Wednesday May 11th 2011

The day before I left London I bought some fake Converse from Lillywhites in Piccadilly Circus. They are ludicrously clean. So clean that they cause passing traffic to swerve at zebra crossings (which, incidentally, seem to mean fuck all in France – what’s the point in even having them?). I wore them out for the first time yesterday, as we journeyed into Cannes to make our final preparations for the start of the festival.

There was a long queue inside the press registration office, but the excitement was already palpable. Palpable, I tell you. Everywhere we looked there were journalists, photographers, industry wankers, filmmakers and the like, eagerly awaiting their special laminated cards and accompanying promotional notepads.

Despite the long wait, I was in no way prepared for the sudden surge of giddy excitement that greeted me when I collected my pass. Me! With a pass! To the Cannes Film Festival! I wasn’t at the LFF any more, Toto. It seemed too good to be true. What could possibly outdo the thrill of a certified Cannes Film Festival press pass? I’ll tell you what:


Apparently San Pellegrino are a main sponsor of the festival, and as such, they give out free bottles of the stuff to every accredited motherfucker on the Croisette THROUGHOUT THE TWO WEEK PERIOD. I literally couldn’t believe my luck. Literally. (For further proof of my dizzy excitement at this revelation, see the appallingly shaky quality of the photo above.)

After collecting our passes, we entered the Palais, the festival’s main venue. Technically, it’s a large building with several auditoria and various function rooms, but to me it was a dazzling world full of magic and wonder. Every surface was covered with lights, staircases led to room after room of wondrous facilities, and the bathrooms were entirely clean.

Situated on the first floor is the press room. You have to show your pass to get in (I felt so smug) but once inside, you’re treated to dozens of of state-of-the-art slightly crappy Windows desktops, as well as a complimentary water fountain and printer. But best of all, there’s a balcony…

Ahhhhhhhhhh… *droooooooool*… Just look at that shrub.

In another area of the Palais, members of the press are each given small safety deposit boxes, although I couldn’t actually get mine to open so I don’t yet know what exciting devilry awaits me inside. Still, it doesn’t half look professional when you slide the card through the reader. Even if nothing happens as a result.

And if you get bored of looking at row after row of small beige containers, there’s always this…


Later on we went for another short trip around town, stopping to admire the sights and sounds of Cannes The City. There was plenty to discover. Who knew, for example, that Orange Wednesdays are called Cinédays in France? Not me, that’s for sure.

And of course, a certain old friend proved painfully ubiquitous throughout our travels…

Oh, filthy tasteless sugar-liquid, WHY MUST YOU TORMENT ME SO?!?

Still, not all the freebies were quite so bogus. We managed to pick up a few complimentary copies of Variety (RRP £5!!!) across the day, and were as amused as ever by their inimitable way with words:

You couldn’t make it up.

We finished the day at a place that we’d been told was the ‘cheapest pub in Cannes’, where ‘cheapest pub in Cannes’ here means ‘£6 for a pint of Heineken’. I drank it down with a mixture of enjoyment and nausea while my accomplices thumbed through the pages of Screen International. We’re so Cannes, darling.

Today (Wednesday) brings with it the start of the festival and I’m looking forward to an increase in films and a decrease in £6 Heinekens, but only time will tell how accurate that prediction really is.

I’ll report back, see you soon suckas.