Tuesday, June 12, 2007
I just spent “2 Days in Paris” with Julie Delpy, Adam Goldberg and a potpourri of strange French characters and I must say, 48 hours isn’t enough. I haven’t laughed so hard at a Franco-American romantic comedy based in Paris since … well, this is the first Franco-American romantic comedy based in Paris I’ve seen. (The season finale of “Sex&TheCity” does NOT count, thank you.) Delpy, une Française living in the US (and my doppelganger I’d like to think), has written, directed, edited AND provided the music for this hysterical romp through Paris which manages to poke fun at the French, but avoid nearly all “an American in Paris” humor clichés. Dialogue-driven humor combined with postcard-like panoramas of Paris and uproarious performances from ubiquitous paranoid Jew Adam Goldberg and Delpy’s real-life parents make the film a two-day French vacation not to be missed.
“2 Days” is a satire of Yankee-Gallic cultural differences disguised as a moving love story, disguised as a biting comedy disguised as a cheap way to experience the real Paris without buying a plane ticket or paying for a tour guide.
The movie opens with a close-up of a sleeping Jack (Goldberg) and Marion (Delpy) on a train on the way back from vacation in Venice. The couple – she, a quirky photographer and he, a mysteriously tattooed interior designer – decide to stop over in Paris for a couple of days on their way back home to New York. Goldberg plays the typical neurotic New York Jew transplanted into what appears to be another galaxy in a Woody Allen-like coup de comedy. Delpy is back in her “Before Sunrise”/”After Sunset” shoes traversing the city of lights, but this time with little make-up and a far more idiosyncratic, unglamorous role.
It was as if Delpy took the past three years of my life in France, stole the funniest moments, and compacted them into a 1h36minute film. My American-living-in-Paris friend Mademoiselle Ange, who I took to the screening, and I were howling for most of the film, but noticed that the French viewers among us were silent for the most part. Perhaps it is because, after all, the film not only pokes fun at the French, but also exaggerates the experience of clueless Americans reacting to the ostensibly normal in France yet strange, strange practices of les Français. Yet, at the same time, from the opening scene where Jack sends poor, unsuspecting, Bush-supporting middle Americans on a Da Vinci Code tour on a wrong path to the Louvre to Jack’s fear of Muslim terrorist attacks on the Metro, the film also makes fun of Americans in Paris. And Jack’s reaction to Marion’s tiny studio apartment (above that of her parents) was an exact reincarnation of my own mother’s reaction to my apartment. “It’s…er…quaint. And very…uhh…Parisian,” he says, then enters the bathroom and starts screaming. “OH MY G-D! Is that black mold on the wall??” “it’s like a Petri dish for allergens,” he adds. Did Delpy arrange a meeting with my own Jewish mother before finishing the script I wonder?
A few moments later, when the couple attempt to have sex in her tiny bed (try adding 81 steps sans elevator, a ladder and a bed “en mezzanine” which, in French means, “LIKE SLEEPING IN A COFFIN” and THEN expect some pity from me, kids), Jack is astounded by the small size of French condoms. “No wonder French men have to be so romantic,” he says. And the French idea of fidelity (actually, the idea of fidelity doesn’t exist in France), breakups, and love clash with Jack’s Americanized views on such issues when the two run into several of Marion’s former boyfriends and lovers.
The lunch scene that follows had me peeing in my tiny French pants. Delpy’s father steals the show as a vulgar yet loveable French man who forgets to think before he speaks and quizzes Jack on American and French literature while eating the head of a rabbit and declaring that “real men eat the head” as Jack tries to stomach le lapin while trying to forget memories of his childhood bunny. This scene brought me back to a dinner I had when I first spent time in Paris one summer when I was 16. A friend’s father took us out to a fancy 8-course meal and I had to eat everything on my plate. After suffering through shellfish with eyes, some strange jelly-like pâté and snails, I was given the main course: rabbit. My friend then starting singing “Little Bunny Foo Foo” and I just couldn’t handle it, so I opted to eat the small white pasta-like chunks on the side of the plate, only to learn later from our waiter that these weren’t indeed chunks of pasta, but instead pieces of RABBIT LARD. Ah oui, I’ve never been able to see Easter in quite the same way.
In another scene, the lovers get into a taxi and the conversation that follows is the exact same conversation I have pretty much every time I enter a cab.
Taxi driver: “Vous êtes américains?”
Deply: “Lui, oui, on habite à NY.”
(He is, yes, We live in NY.)
Taxi driver: “Ah New York? J’ADORE New York!”
Delpy also has to explain to friends at a party that Jack cannot drink red wine – he has an allergy and gets headaches. So when I announce a similar red wine allergy to French people and they look at me like I am an alien with 4 heads and a cheeseburger attached to the side of my face, now they’ll see that I’m not alone in my physical sensitivity to the red grape.
Speaking of allergies, I think perhaps the funniest scene is when Marion eats muscles and has a reaction. Amidst the screaming and panic, Jack yells “Somebody call 911! Wait is it 911 here?” And Marion is screaming “Allergie! Moules!” (“meaning I have a muscle allergy!”) And Jack starts yelling “Quick somebody call Allergie Moules! Allergie Moules!”
The last scenes are a bit strange as Marion turns into a borderline bipolar crazy woman (again, it was like looking into a mirror. JUST KIDDING) and Jack meets a strange animal rights activist in a fast-food joint (a cameo from German actor Daniel Bruhl), but all’s well that ends well and Delpy doesn’t hesitate to end the film with a love scene in Paris, as all romantic comedies taking place in Paris should end. Delpy isn’t afraid of cliché or slapstick humor, but manages to create a film virtually without both. Many of the jokes and lines are extremely funny and usually subtle. It’s as if Woody Allen cloned himself but came out instead as a blond French woman poking fun at her own people. Her chemistry with Goldberg is wonderful and it was nice to see scenes of Paris not out of a Frommer’s tour book. Très bien, Madame Delpy, très bien.
“2 Days in Paris” opens in France on July 11th and in the U.S. on August 10th. Courez-y!
Quote of the Day: "J'ai aimé et j'ai été aimé, mais jamais les deux en mêmê temps." ("I've loved and I've been loved, but never both at the same time.")
-Frédéric Beigbeder, from "Au Secours Pardon" out in French bookstores today.
Café of the Day: Exciting news! No, Paris Hilton is STILL in jail and Demi and Ashton haven't gotten divorced (yet) but... Cojean has opened a new café right next to the Louvre! And, yes that's correct, right across the river from chez moi! Not only does the new location provide a scenic view of the French capital's most famous museum and all of Cojean's light, delicious, fresh products to munch on, but it's also - are you sitting down? - open on Sundays! Sure, G-d may have rested on Sundays but Cojean doesn't need to, vive le healthy sandwich! They actually just put out their new summer menu which features an orzo pasta salad with parmesan, zucchini, sundried tomatoes and a lemon-olive sauce, a mini-sandwich with grilled veggies on brioche, fresh melon and a carrot salad with cinnamon, pistachio and raspberries. All worth eating if you're spending at least "2 Days in Paris" anytime soon.
Word of the Day: La Palettiquette: n. m. an ethics code to follow when visiting 43, rue de Seine 75006 Paris, France.
It’s pretty much the same story for most popular Parisian spots. Someone decides that a place is cool and it becomes the place to be for no ostensible reason other than somebody decided that it’s cool and no one is about to contest such a decision. (see: Le Baron, le Bar du Marché and Mathis.) Take La Palette, for example. Located on the rue de Seine, in between art galleries and, well, more art galleries, La Palette resembles every other café in the capital – tiny, round tables and little chairs outside, tiny, round tables and little chairs inside, a bathroom for 1 complete with a toilet that flushes when it pleases, and a few beverage choices on the menu, namely an oenephile’s nightmare “red wine, white wine or rosé.” Yet French hipsters and unsuspecting tourists wandering past the art galleries come from near and far to crowd around tables, drink whatever is on tap and smoke cigarettes. Pourquoi, you may ask? Is it the view? Other people drinking wine and smoking cigarettes. The cuisine? Cheese on toast. Ham on toast. Or a mix of the two. The beverages? Wine. Beer. And Perrier. Yet neither rain nor sleet nor snow will keep these French soldiers from their Palette. As soon as the sun even hints that it’s about to make an appearance, everyone in France between the age of 20 and 25 heads to La Palette to sit side-by-side (almost on each other’s laps in fact), drink wine and stare those waiting for tables up and down. Ah oui, waiting for a table. Getting a table during “Palette prime time” (read: from around 7 PM to midnight) is about as easy as finding a Frenchman with big muscles or a sandwich without butter in this town. Translation: eeem-poos-eee-buuul. And the Code of La Palethics doesn’t seem to exist. La Palogic states that no matter how many people are waiting for a table, one has the right to simply walk up and sit down if one sees someone getting up. La Palettiquette also implies that blowing cigarette smoke into someone’s face directly is OK. However, despite the lack of La Palettiquette, La Palette is a crowded, smoky yet unfailingly fun place to drink wine with friends, run into everyone you’ve ever met in life (or at least during your French life) and enter into stage 4 lung cancer faster than you can say “But I was here first!”
Link of le day: http://www.gogoparis.com/gogogo/node/1399
Saturday, June 02, 2007
French film camp is over. Every May, the crème-de-la-crème of international big screen stars make their way to the Croisette to celebrate the 7th art. Film executives from all over the world gather in an oversized cabin (called the Palais), sit around the fire (namely, the lavish fireplaces of the Majestic and Martinez hotels), tell stories (via images on a giant screen the size of a small French village) and stay up all night drinking bug juice (also known as champagne). Each day, herds of movie campers hustle into the Palais for the morning screening, then head to daily activities such as sports (running up and down the Croisette to and from meetings), arts&crafts (yes, in France, cinema is indeed the “7th art”), relay races (you try getting up and down that red carpet in 4-inch heels) and sing-alongs (think: 3 am. Jimmy’z. Drunken film executives belting out Britney Spears), and there’s even naptime (see: the morning screening) and snacktime (caviar, anyone?). 12 days, 23 films in competition, 0 hours of sleep and hundreds of glasses of champagne later, everyone packs their bags and heads back to their respective countries. Everyone spends all year getting ready for it, and then, before you can say “cut!” the credits roll and its all over in a flash. As Catherine Deneuve told me just a few days ago: “There’s so much excitation in so few days. It’s so quick, so fast. I’m always depressed after Cannes.”
The Cannes Film Festival is like a drug – you’re high for 12 days then its only inevitable that you come down from such a crazy/exciting/colorful/hallucinatory trip. Though only a 5-hour train ride from Paris, Cannes is a planet all to itself, complete with its own time zone, its own language, its own rules and even its own royal family topped off by King Gilles Jacob. It’s a land where if you’re not VIP, it’s RIP for you.
This year, Cannes campers from all over the world spent “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days” with “Alexandra,” “The Man from London” and “An Old Mistress” with a pit stop at “Paranoid Park” on the way to “Persepolis,” trying not to get lost in “The Mourning Forest” along the way. Cinephiles approached “The Edge of Heaven” and saw a “Silent Light” and a ‘Secret Sunshine,” but discovered that it was “No Country for Old Men.” “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” got together to sing “Love Songs” and declare “We Own the Night.” (“My Blueberry Nights,” that is.) Without stopping for a “Breath,” filmmakers tried to “Import Export” their “Death Proof” movies in order to avoid “The Banishment” from Cannes. “Promise Me This,” spectators, including the “Zodiac” : distribute “Tehilim” on your way up the red carpet steps to the Palais theater so you can avoid the inevitable “Days of Darkness” when you return to reality after the festival.
Here are some highlights from the festival’s 60th year and my third. Tighten up those fanny packs, wave goodbye to Mom and Dad and welcome to Camp Cannes.
The first of 12 blueberry nights kicked off in Cannes as director Wong Kar Wai led the cast of "My Blueberry Nights" up the red carpet to the Grand Palais theater for the film's world premiere. Wong accompanied Jude Law and songbird Norah Jones, stars of the Hong Kong director's first English-language feature, which, I must say, I really liked. It’s just like the blueberry pie that carries the plot – very sugary but also quite delicious. Jude Law plays, well Jude Law – the charmingly humble stud with a hot British accent – and Norah Jones proves that there’s a lot of acting talent behind that pretty voice. With a strong supporting cast (Rachel Weisz, David Strathairn, Natalie Portman), a fabulous soundtrack and enough pie to feed all of America, “My Blueberry Nights” is an aesthetically beautiful road trip through the United States that will put filmgoers “in the mood for love.”
Although Wong certainly was in the mood for the red carpet in his signature dark shades and tux, members of the film's supporting cast — including Rachel Weisz, Natalie Portman and David Strathairn — were no-shows. Yet the Croisette was glittering with star power as swarms of celebs including Elizabeth Hurley (who bumped into me while walking to her seat – bitch! No, I kid, Lizzie, I’ve seen “Austin Powers” you could totally kick my ass), Minnie Driver (in a fabulous hip-hugging white dress) Juliette Binoche (still the epitome of French glamour, class and elegance in my opinion) and Cannes vet Luc Besson sent photographers into a snapping frenzy.
Diane Kruger, German-born actress and mistress of ceremonies (and, more importantly, former spouse of THE Guillaume Canet himself, now dating Joshua Jackson, rumored to have separated from him, however he was with her at the closing night ceremony for the premiere of her film “Days of Darkness” sitting next to Karl Lagerfeld, thus, I am led to believe that they are indeed back on. Don’t cry, Guillaume, I am here to console you) was host of the hoopla and wowed the crowd with a trilingual welcome in French, English and German. "In Cannes, anything is possible," Kruger said, adding that "For 12 days, we all speak the same language, that of cinema."
The event stuck to its traditional proceedings, with Kruger calling the 2007 jury onstage, finishing with a musical entrance fit for a "Queen" for its president, Stephen Frears. A series of clips from each of the films In Competition followed.
David Lynch made the long trip from Mulholland Drive to the Croisette to present his "surprise gift" to the festival for its 60th anniversary, a short film titled "Absurda," also the name of the distribution company Lynch owns and a very appropriate title for a film that may as well have been subtitled in a rare Malaysian-African dialect from the 17th century because it went so far over my head – and the heads of the hundreds of people in the Palais – that it will take another 60 years for all of us to figure out what the hell was going on.
The almost 100-year-old Manoel de Oliveira came onstage to say a few words before Taiwanese actress Shu Ki declared the festival officially open. Let the games begin!
Audience members not full from the Wong film's many slices of pie refilled their plates at an official dinner in the Palais where very important people (and me!) gathered for cocktails, conversation and cuisine (and by that I mean, the “dinner” was more of a parade of finger food fit for a small town of Lilliputians – come on, King Gilles, FEED US!). Kerry Washington and Andie MacDowell represented L’Oréal with some fancy schmancy dresses and the brightest red lips I’ve ever seen.
But I must confess: I broke the law at this party – Jude Law, that is. It was the greatest (blueberry) night of my life – our eyes met and it was as if I was the blueberry and he was the pie crust and we were just meant to be together. (Yup, I’m still going with the blueberry pie analogies, it doesn’t get stale does it?)
We exchanged a few words:
Jude: I love you. I want to spend the rest of my blueberry nights with you. Forget Sienna - Will you marry me?
Or something like that…
Harvey Weinstein was in tow and, when I was introduced to him for the 450th time and he said “Hi, Harvey,” I replied “I’m still Rebecca.”
Bai Ling was there. Bai Ling is everywhere in fact. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a party and NOT bumped into Bai. Or Ling? Let’s just call her BL…Anyway, she’s totally ubiquitous. Last year in Cannes, at the Wild Bunch party for “Southland Tales,” she almost knocked me over with her very large white dress. She’s dangerous, I tell you.
After I’d had my fill of hot shot film executives, Jude Law’s extended gaze (I mean really, we’re going to spend the rest of our lives together, can you take your eyes off of me for one minute please?), Norah Jones (who is quite tiny in real life but seemed very sweet, I adored her dark blue long dress) and way too many mini éclairs, I headed to the StudioCanal afterparty for the film. Just like camp, we all piled into buses to take us to East Bumblefuck, Cannes for a packed party in a huge tent.
Here’s the official party wrap up from moi and my fellow THR party attendees:
For the opening-night Cannes premiere of revered director Wong Kar Wai's first English-language film, these folks took the title seriously. Remember Violet in "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," the girl who turned into an exploding blueberry? That was how La Palestre looked from the outside the Canal Plus party, surrounded by metallic trailers serving diner food.
Attendees: Norah Jones, Jude Law (sans Sienna or Lindsay), Bai Ling, cineaste fave Jessica Simpson, Endeavor's Patrick Whitesall and the exploding U.S. distributor himself, Harvey Weinstein. Of course, the Wongster also was on hand, sporting his signature shades and in the mood for snapping photos with partygoing fans.
Cuisine: Hot dogs in a bun, chicken thighs and mini hamburgers virtually screamed, "Wong, welcome to America." The VIP bar had jugs of blueberry puree, and the Ben & Jerry's ice cream cart had strawberry, mixed berry but ... no blueberry! Quel scandale!
Highlights/lowlights: Three intrepid reporters made their way up to the VIP area without wristbands, but most were forced to stay below the raised platform. The large widescreen displays showing guests and film clips were impressive. Given the film's Ry Cooder score and Jones as its star, however, there was an inexplicable disco theme (including a remix of Dolly Parton's "Jolene") with a revolving metal grid dance floor (but no injuries were reported).
My first official day of Canal+’s “le Palmomètre”, part of “Le Grand Journal” daily Cannes edition during which time I tell over 3 million French viewers that I LIKE CHEESE. Yes, going to jump on one of these nice yachts in the harbor and escape…
My evening began at the annual Marché du Film opening night bash at the Majestic Beach – a who’s who of international buyers, sellers, distributors…and of course Jerome Paillard, the Master of the Market.
Then onto the “Red Balloon” party at the 3.14 Baron Beach…
The fete for Un Certain Regard opener "The Flight of the Red Balloon" was missing helmer Hou Hsiao Hsien and star Juliette Binoche, who chose to head home after dinner at the 3.14. Industry members and a select few famous French faces sipped Chivas Regal, Beefeater dry gin, champagne and Wyborowa vodka at the bash thrown by Margo Films, Les Films du Lendemain, Films Distribution and the Ile de France Film Commission. Though stomachs grumbled with no food in sight, guests enjoyed mellow music and a beachfront view at the swank 3.14 Baron beach.
Attendees: Director Pascale Ferran, Cesar winner for "Lady Chatterley," looked striking. Gallic actress Aissa Maiga floated about the beachside space with Ile de France Film Commission topper Olivier Rene-Veillon and a potpourri of international industry execs.
Highlights/lowlights: With so many other events going on, star sightings were scarce, and the party became a sort of transition stopover for many on their way from the Marche du Film fete and to other events. And with not even minuscule munchies on offer, guests seemed ready to take flight.
Then onto the “Water Lilies” afterparty at the 3.14 Baron club just up the street…
First-time director Celine Sciamma celebrated a warm reception to her first feature film screened in Un Certain Regard category with live music, drinks and the creme de la creme of the hipster chic French scene. Para One, straight from the film's soundtrack, provided the music for the early morning bash at the Club Le Baron Hotel 3.14 as guests left the theater with images of synchronized swimming scenes as they headed for some synchronized -- and unsynchronized -- dancing courtesy of Les Productions Balthazar, Haut et Court and Films Distribution.
Attendees: Films Distribution's Francois Yon worked the room alongside Sciamma and talent, with the ubiquitous Harvey Weinstein making a late-night appearance. Gallic actor Melvil Poupaud, star of "Un Homme Perdu," which is screening in the Directors' Fortnight, and his producer, MK2's Nathanael Karmitz, also swam into the party.
Highlights/lowlights: The film's afterparty turned into a smoky, crowded, elbow-rubbing bash as habitues of Paris' chic nightclub Le Baron headed to the 3.14 for a romp on the Riviera.
The Festival de Cannes received a rockin' gift for its 60th birthday as Irish band U2 played to an enthusiastic crowd from the steps of the Palais des Festivals around 12:30 a.m. Sunday.
The band missed an afternoon press conference and other festival events when their flight from Dublin was delayed, but they made up for their tardiness with a live, unscheduled concert.
Thousands of filmgoers and fans gathered by the famous Cannes red carpet to hear Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. belt out the hits "Vertigo" and "Where the Streets Have No Name."
Traffic stopped on the Croisette as Bono and company left the official festival cars and marched to the top of the Palais steps where their instruments awaited them. Cheers could be heard all the way down the Croisette as "No Country for Old Men" star Javier Bardem danced alongside the band.
The concert preceded the 1 a.m. world premiere of concert documentary "U2 3D," screening Out of Competition, which tracks the band during their recent "Vertigo" world tour with advanced 3-D technology.
Gilles Jacob and Thierry Fremaux had a lot of hands to shake Sunday night as the Festival de Cannes rolled out the red carpet for a star-studded 60th anniversary ceremony and screening of the shorts compilation "To Each His Own Cinema" at the Grand Palais.
The film's 35 directors were present, and cinema legends Gerard Depardieu, Fanny Ardant, Pedro Almodovar, Faye Dunaway, Helen Mirren, Javier Bardem and Sharon Stone also graced the massive swarm of fans on the Croisette with their presence. After a seemingly never-ending red carpet run complete with French Minister of Culture and Communication manning the top of the Palais steps, the ceremony began. Recently crowned French President Nicolas Sarkozy was a no-show despite rumors that he would make an appearance in Cannes over the weekend.
Chairs were set up in front of the big screen, with the movie's directors including Roman Polanski, Nanni Moretti and the brothers Coen and Dardenne, with Jane Campion the lone female helmer on the scene.
The empty seat at the end of the row was soon filled with hostess of the evening Juliette Binoche, who lent her bilingual, bi-cultural touch to the occasion by telling the crowd: "Tonight's celebration is a little different. It's a world premiere for the directors themselves." A standing ovation preceded the "move theater"-themed film dedicated to Federico Fellini described in the opening credits as "that thrill when the lights dim and the movie begins."
The film received a positive response from the crowd, who clapped especially hard for the eclectic submissions from Amos Gitai, Joel and Ethan Coen, Moretti and Lars von Trier. The film was broadcast simultaneously on Canal Plus and will air on Arte on Saturday night, with Studio Canal preparing a DVD release in Gaul in the coming days.
As the sky exploded with fireworks, the celebration continued with a dinner and star-studded afterparty at the Parc De La Roseraie.
Thanks to Guillermo del Toro who continued to refill my champagne glass despite my reluctance, it was a long, fun-filled evening complete with movie stars, champagne and dancing.
After the film ended, I hopped aboard the Arte yacht for the “Tehilim” afterparty then headed to the Roseraie for Chopard’s event. I stood outside slowly sipping my champagne as the catwalk unfolded before my eyes. Within seconds, every French actor/actress/major producer/director with a pulse walked by – my future husband Louis Garrel (sorry, Guillaume you had your chance), Juliette Binoche, Isabelle Huppert, Emmanuelle Seigner, Ludivine Sagnier – not to mention more famous directors than are probably present at an Oscars ceremony – Roman Polanski, Jim Jarmusch, Pedro Almodovar, David Cronenberg, Ken Loach, Amos Gitai, Olivier Assayas, and, of course, my best friend Brett Ratner. Not to mention Faye Dunaway, Josh Brolin, jury member Michel Piccoli, and the Fest’s very own Prince Thierry Fremaux.
My assessment of le bash:
"To each his own champagne" was the theme of the Festival de Cannes' 60th birthday bash on Sunday sponsored by Chopard, and Gilles Jacob made sure that the bubbly flowed after the cameras rolled. Following the official 60th anniversary ceremony and screening of "To Each His Own Cinema" and an official dinner, the best of the best of the world's directors and talent headed to Le Parc de la Roseraie to fete 60 years of Cannes with at least 60 famous faces present. A who's who of the Gallic big screen scattered throughout the large dome, some heading to the dance floor, but most chose to schmooze outdoors. With hostesses offering mini-desserts on silver trays and servers seeming to walk by with an endless supply of already-filled champagne glasses, the ambiance was just what you'd expect from an official celebration: mellow and tres, tres chic thanks to Chopard's elegant touch. The crowd was mostly French, with relatively no stars and stripes in sight. It was certainly a Gallic affair. The bash was short-lived, with most guests opting to jump into official black cars to head to after-parties at Jimmy'z and Le Baron 3.14.
Attendees: Thierry Fremaux put a pause in his hand-shaking to raise a glass with Roman Polanski, Faye Dunaway, Isabelle Huppert and Juliette Binoche. Guillermo del Toro guarded his signature smile as he awaited his flight back to Budapest to continue filming "Hellboy 2." Brett Ratner made an early "X"-it after the dinner, perhaps to avoid the late-night "rush hour" on the Croisette, and Josh Brolin also snuck out early. Jim Jarmusch added a bit of international flavor to the oh-so French evening complete with Ludivine Sagnier, Emmanuelle Seigner, "Lady Chatterley" Cesar winner Pascale Ferran and Louis Garrel, star of Christophe Honore's "Love Songs."
Cuisine: Guests ended the night on a sweet note with no salty appetizers offered. Desserts included Mini fruit cups, mini walnut tarts, mini lemon tarts and mini cream puffs.
Highlights/lowlights: Few Americans present. The parquet floors were easy to slip on and a corner area resembled more of a black hole than a dance floor.
As they say, when it rains it pours. And, while the sky remained blue all week and I got good use out of my new 5 pairs of Fendi sunglasses, there was quite a lot going on Monday night. After an accidental nap (I blame the previous six days of 2 hrs of sleep per night), I headed off to the CanalPlus patio for a delicious dinner overlooking the water alongside Gallic TV personalities and finished off with a delectable Tarte Tropezienne with fresh strawberries and a kiss hello from Alain Delon, equally as delectable.
I then headed to the 3.14 beach for the After “After Him” After party (say that 5 times fast) where I hung with the film’s director, the incredibly talented Gael Morel
(see: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/awards_festivals/cannes/features/e3ifa4ea4954736d9da18674a211123652f), the film’s stars Catherine Deneuve and Thomas Dumerchez and lots of fun “camp friends,” namely fellow journalists and industry execs who I get to see every year.
I then headed to the Baron 3.14 for the after party for Gus Van Sant’s “Paranoid Park” where Van Sant, the real Penny Lane, the film’s young stars and lots of important Frenchies (the film was produced by MK2) sipped vodka and champagne on one side of a velvet rope and other guests were anything but paranoid, showing their moves on the dance floor inside.
(Note: My invitation said “Olivier Assayas” whose name was crossed out and replaced with “Rebecca Leffler.” Fantastic.)
Tonight, I discovered that I am not indeed “Death Proof” and, after a week of extremely high stress, work and champagne levels, my body revolted against me and I was forced to give up my very precious invites to the Weinstein Company/TF1 bash for Tarantino’s film and do something shocking – go to sleep early.
I can safely say that I have absolutely no recollection of the day or night's activities. Oh la la la la la la...
The scene: The Martinez lobby
Quentin Tarantino: Your dress blends into the chair.
Me: Yup, I did it on purpose.
Quentin Tarantino: No really, it's the same design - crazy!
And to think there was a time when I attacked celebrities, now they're coming to ME!
At the summer camp I attended every summer since the age of 8, on the last night, we’d all gather around the fire and roast marshmallows, light candles, reflect on our memories from the summer and cry and hug a lot. The last night of Camp Cannes was sort of the same, only there was a chocolate fountain and a foie gras stand instead of marshmallows, there were photographers camera flashes instead of candlelight, and the only fire in sight were the flames of cigar lighters but there was still quite a lot of reminiscing and crying and hugging.
After 12 days, 22 Competition films and 60 years of the Festival de Cannes, Stephen Frears' jury reached its verdict and gave the coveted Palme d'Or to Cristian Mungiu's Romanian film "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days." Mungiu pretty much summed up my Cannes experience when he said: "It looks a little like a fairy tale.”
I was thrilled to see the second place Grand Prix go to Japanese underdog "Mogari No Mori" (The Mourning Forest), directed by Naomi Kawase, about an old man and a caretaker at his retirement home struggling to overcome the death of their loved ones. This film I thought was very underrated among critics, and really moved me.
Props to Julian Schnabel for being named best director for "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.” What can I say – he’s a New Yorker who made a French movie. Yay for New Yorkers and French films, what a winning combination =)
Turkey's German-born Fatih Akin won the best screenplay award for "The Edge of Heaven." Jeon Do-yeon's portrayal of a mother dealing with tragedy earned her the best actress prize for Lee Chang-dong's "Secret Sunshine," and Konstantin Lavronenko took home the best actor award for his role in Andrei Zviaguintsev's Russian entry "The Banishment."
The jury prize was split between Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud's "Persepolis" -- a black-and-white animated adaptation of her comic book about growing up during the Iranian Revolution -- and "Stellet Licht," Carlos Reygadas' tale of forbidden love among Mennonite farmers.
The jury gave its 60th Anniversary Prize to Gus Van Sant for his skater drama "Paranoid Park" "for his career and because he made a lovely film," Frears said.
I give the Best Acceptance Speech prize of the evening to Etgar Keret when he and co-director Shira Geffen accepted their Camera d’Or award, given to the best first film in selection, for their Israeli film "Meduzot" (Jellyfish). "I haven't felt anything like this since my Bar Mitzvah," Keret said.
Before presenting the prize for best actress, Alain Delon requested 25 seconds of applause for Romy Schneider, who died 25 years ago to the day. Alain and I go way back (see: May 21 entry).
"I'm told by you people who come here every year that this has been a terrific festival. On behalf of the jury, the films have been a pleasure to watch," jury president Frears said. After seeing pretty much every film in competition this year for le Grand Journal (yes, I cannot tell a lie. I chopped down the cherry tree and cheated for a couple of movies), I'd rephrase that to say "MOST of the films have been a pleasure to watch. Some have been quite frankly, TORTURE."
Here are the Palmes de Leffler:
Best Film: "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (Julian Schnabel)
Best Actress: The female cast of Fatih Akin's "The Edge of Heaven"
Best Actor: Mathieu Amalric "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"
other honorable mentions: Naomi Kawase's "The Mourning Forest," James Gray's "We Own the Night," Gus Van Sant's "Paranoid Park," Wong Kar Wai's "My Blueberry Nights," and Christophe Honoré's "Love Songs"
Hottest actor award: Louis Garrel, "Love Songs"
Most hardcore actor award: Mark Whalberg (the artist formerly known as Marky Mark), "We Own the Night"
Actor with most charming accent award: Jude Law, "My Blueberry Nights"
Longest film ever in life award: "Zodiac," David Fincher
Most critically acclaimed film that wasn't actually very good award: "No Country for Old Men," the Coen Brothers
Most not talked about yet really wonderful film that deserves more credit award: Raphael Nadjari's "Tehilim"
Best 60th anniversary short from "To Each His Own Cinema" : a tough choice between Joel & Ethan Coen's humorous "World Cinema," Amos Gitai's moving "Le Dibbouk de Haifa," Nanni Moretti's personal, funny, very Italiano "Diary of a Movie-Goer," and Zhang Yimou's very cute "Movie Night." But My top prize is shared between Roman Polanski's "Cinéma érotique" and Walter Salles' "5.557 Miles from Cannes."
(honorable mention to David Cronenberg for "At the Suicide of the Last Jew in the World in the Last Cinema in the World" simply for the topic itself)
The awards were handed out at a gala ceremony presided over by mistress of ceremonies Diane Kruger (who arrived, as previously mentioned, with Canadian boy toy Joshua Jackson and the uber-fashionable Karl Lagerfeld) ahead of a screening of the Out of Competition film "Days of Darkness," directed by Canadian Denys Arcand. I only caught the last ½ hour and all I can say is that I hope the previous hour and a half are much better.
All of the important people (and me!) then headed to a closing-night dinner and soiree at La Roseraie. After attacking the – for a change actually quite copious and tasty – cuisine offered by the Festival (risotto, foie gras, mozzarella/tomato, some sort of fish and potatoes and hundreds of thousands of mini-desserts) I sat with my new best friend Gus Van Sant. Most people, when confronted with a Palme d’Or-winning, world-renowned film director might choose to discuss, say film, or directing. I, however, chatted with Monsieur Van Sant about the fact that New Jersey and Oregon (he lives in Portland) are the only two states in the US where its illegal to pump one’s own gas. Gus was very down to earth and friendly, and it was an added bonus that sitting next to him became an assembly line for the who’s who of international film talent all eager to meet Gus, and the mysterious girl talking to him. Maggie Cheung, Emmanuelle Seigner, Sarah Polley, etc. Actually, talking to Polley was definitely a highlight for me- I think she is one of the most talented actresses-turned directors out there. Her most recent film, just released in Paris and in NY, “Away from Her” is an emotional, terribly sad yet hopeful and well-done portrait of Alzheimers. Go see it if you haven’t. I congratulated Fatih Akin on his incredible film (which I think should have won the Palme d’Or mind you) and then spoke with Jia Zhang Ke, the cutest little man ever but better known for his directing career. I loved “Still Life” earlier this year. It was as if the entire past 12 days of my life were flashing before my eyes as the actors and directors from every competition film I’d seen walked by me. What a memorable evening.
Afterwards, I headed to the Baron beach for what I’ll refer to as the “who’s left” party – it was the strangest mix of people ever, pretty much everyone still in Cannes as the Fest wrapped, everyone from Rosario Dawson to major film execs to plebians such as myself. But everyone was raging until the very last minute, drinking and dancing until the party finally moved to the 3.14 hotel and I made my way back to my bunk/hotel.
Camp Cannes 2007 is over, but I can’t wait to head back next year for star-gazing, hiking (up and down the Croisette), barbecues and memorable evenings with the friends I look forward to seeing each year.