It’s un peu Fellini, un peu Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, and all delightful: As early as 4:30 in the afternoon or as late as 4:30 in the morning, every day of the Festival, gentlemen in black-tie monkey suits and ladies in sparkly, body-conscious evening dresses swan up and down the rue d’Antibes, going someplace that I, in my Old Navy cropped jeans and striped sailor shirts, am not. Are they on their way to something fabulous on a yacht that will wreak havoc on the ladies’ stiletto heels? Are they heading to an obligatory, industry-related cocktail party in a cramped, minimally furnished, sublet apartment with a balcony overlooking the Croisette? Will they meet up with the same old colleagues with whom they’ve done business over the years by telex, fax, FedEx, conference call, email, text, Tweet, and Skype? Will they all drink gassy water and eat two olives each, or will some grab the Champagne and glasses of blush-colored Provençal Bandol rosé?
Or are they just trying to get to a movie in the Grand Théâtre Lumière, knowing that those stern French Guardians of the Doors, in their dun-colored Ahmadinejad jackets, will turn away anyone outfitted in anything less?
Wherever they’re going, these bejeweled and perfumed revelers, they share the rue d’Antibes with packs of French teen girls, slim as Olsen twins and clutching smartphones sheathed in bubblegum-pink casings;
…and with clutches of wiry French young men in T-shirts with American-label logos, buzz cut and straddling motorbikes;
…and with slightly humped, safely chic, narrow-hipped older French women who have been to the hairdresser, as well as with their male counterparts, the ambling, wrinkled French pensioners who wear pale blue resort knitwear and caps. (There are little dogs for each sex);
—and with beggars and pickpockets who make out at the Festival each year like, yes, bandits. (Ask me; I’ve felt their touch.) And with day-trippers, tourists, sun-lovers, beach-goers, and French police and military types in their multitude of crisp, menacing uniforms;
—and, finally, with thousands of once-a-year visitors like me. We’re here as journalists or distributors or buyers or publicists, prone the world over to wearing flapping ID bags and shlepping Cannes totebabags stuffed with promotional literature we’ll throw out as soon as we get to a trash bin, striding, faster than the usual Cannoisie, to our next rendezvous in the dark. Cue the Nino Rota music.
More Things to Love at Cannes posts: