Author: Vafa AKHUNDOVA, Baku-Cannes-Baku
One of the most prestigious film festivals in the world, the Cannes, is held each May in the resort town of Cannes on the French Riviera. In fact, it is really hard to visit the festival or even the events associated with it. However, R+ was among the lucky ones who were invited to one of the many festival parties, Chopard's Secret Night.
Vortex along the Croisette
Obviously, the simplest way to take part in the festival is to invest in the production of film that would resemble either Pulp Fiction for originality of its plot or an intellectual movie with socio-political overtones. There are plenty of problems that bother the international community today and can well guarantee your access to the festival: gender inequality, wars in the Middle East, migrants, sexual orientation, etc. This year, for example, the whole festival was held under a "female" sign: Kate Blanchett chaired the jury of festival with the majority of members made up of women for the first time in the history of the Cannes; the first parade of stars on the red carpet was dedicated to "women in cinema", and "about 100 female" directors, actresses, and producers were invited to the opening ceremony; three films directed by females were selected for the main competition of the festival.
One can also take part in the festival by shooting his own film or at least participate in the shooting. In this case, the organisers will pay even for your accommodation. The quality of hotel depends on whether the film is qualified for the competition or is simply reviewed by critics. Since Azerbaijan did not apply for participation this year and did not have its own pavilion where it is possible to present the projects, meet the world cinema tycoons and attract potential investors (although we did this for six consecutive years before), we had to entertain ourselves with the holiday spirit of the festival. It is possible to meet familiar faces, star actors or some cosplayed characters from a famous blockbuster.
Indeed, there is always something to see in Cannes in addition to cinema. An incredible number of athletes, musicians and dancers are trying to glorify their country, attract attention and earn money. Over one hundred countries present their pavilions here. If you do not have access to the pavilions, you can always meet interesting characters on the street. It's a real celebrity parade, where it's never possible to guess who and where you'll stumble upon today - it could be a famous actor sitting next to your table in the restaurant, or a filmmaker strolling along the Croisette, the famous boulevard along the seacoast in Cannes.
Indeed, the Cannes Film Festival is something out of the ordinary. Apart from the fact that this is far from boring ceremony of awarding awards for "cine" successes, it is also a way of life.
Once there, the guests not only climb the ladders of the Palais des Congrès on the Croisette Boulevard covered with red carpet, but also get into vortex of endless events, parties, cocktails, and presentations, which pass round the clock. So, it’s not enough to bring just a heap of evening dresses. You need to follow special rules and dress code, starting with the morning croissant and a cup of coffee.
By the pier
After premieres on the Cote d'Azur, people traditionally have fun. Bright cloth colours, mandatory shoes on heels, the most beautiful guests of the film festival - all this can be found at famous private parties of the festival. Here is the largest concentration of world stars of film and showbiz, famous athletes and celebrities, businessmen and art patrons. Organisers of closed events at the Cannes Film Festival are the world's most famous brands, film producers and companies, billionaires and patrons of art. amfAR, Chopard, de Grisogono are the most famous and large-scale parties of the film festival.
Charity Evening of the AIDS Foundation amfAR Cinema Against AIDS, amfAR Gala, can well be called the main party of the Cannes Film Festival. This year, the festival promised to be totally unusual. First, it was a tribute to the 25th anniversary of the event. Secondly, for the first time in a long time without Harvey Weinstein. Maybe that’s better. Recently it turned out that now the disgraced producer has molested not only young and beautiful actresses, but also the activists of the charitable foundation periodically trying to take the money that generous billionaires gave to the fight against AIDS.
As always, the amfAR Gala was held at the Hotel Du Cap-Eden-Roc in the Antibes under the slogan “And the woman created all". The evening opened with Mila Jovovich's speech: "Together we can achieve the same as two incredible women - Elizabeth Taylor and Dr. Matilda Creem, who founded amfAR in the hope of finding a cure for HIV infection. I want you all bet today, as if your life depends on it. "
Then the show started under the supervision of Karin Roitfeld. Auction lots had garments from Off-White, Chanel, Fendi, Givenchy, Louis Vuitton, Ralph & Russo, Miu Miu, Alexandre Vauthier. All the designers designed the dresses for the auction in a single copy. Total sales reached €1.6 million.
Grace Jones’s speech at the auction was a surprise. "AmfAR, I love you. And do not forget, please, Elizabeth Taylor, "she wished at the end.
As the main sponsor of the Cannes Film Festival for many years, the masters of the Chopard jewellery house traditionally produce the main prize of the festival, Palm d’Or, and also award the award-winning young cinematographers.
At Chopard Nights, the champagne flows like a stormy river, brilliants sparkle brighter than stars in the sky. The venue of this year’s party was kept a secret until the very last moment. In fact, the main difference of Chopard parties is always a new location of the event and its unusual format. For example, Chopard parties of recent years were held on the legendary yacht SAVARONA, at the airport of Cannes Mandelieu in the style of the Lost film series. Last year, the theme of the Chopard party was space. This year the Chopard's Secret Night party was held at Villa Château de la Croix des Gardes with the best panoramic view of Cannes, where Alfred Hitchcock filmed his thriller To Catch a Thief (1955).
But before getting access to the hostess of the party, Chopard’s artistic director Caroline Scheufele, it was necessary to wait in a long queue of guests, each of whom were scanned by the security personnel. It seemed that even a fly could not go through these armed and strong guys without an invitation. Irina Sheik, Kendall Jenner, Marion Cotillard, Julianne Moore, Lupita Nyong'o, Hofit Golan, Murad and Izabel Goulart. You will most likely not find such a concentration of stars and famous personalities in one place anywhere else. It is not surprising that the locations of the parties of the Cannes festival are protected just as if there was a summit of heads of state.
But the guard remained behind. And here it is, the feud of Carolina. To say that Chopard parties always leave only the best emotions and impressions means to say nothing. This year the guests were offered a laconic dress code: black, masks and diamonds.
In the garden, the guests were met by Caroline Scheufele. She found time for everyone hugging Irina Sheik in a heavy necklace with diamonds and emeralds from Chopard, and Kendall Jenner in a completely transparent mini dress from Alexandre Vauthier.
A romantic private dinner was waiting for the participants, during which a display of precious items from the collection of high jewellery art was held. Fortunately, we were at the same table with the famous British and American actor Pierce Brosnan, who was looking at his wife Keely Shay Smith throughout the party. The couple was constantly hugging, as if they were not together for 20 years. When we tried to interrupt this romantic relation, asking Pierce to take a selfie with us, he politely refused saying that if other people notice this, they would definitely ask for photo also, spoiling the party for him. Nevertheless, it was a delightful experience to share the same table with Pierce Brosnan, a nice man in all respects.
Meanwhile the evening went on as usual until Enrique Iglesias came on stage. And almost instantly, a ceremonious social event turned into a stormy Spanish party where everyone was dancing vigorously under the hits of the Spanish macho. Then DJ Cassidy took the lead of the party with his dancing set. Everyone was dancing and it was an unforgettable experience.
Overall, the Cannes-2018 proved extremely politicized. The festival was remembered for its "female face", as well as a fiery speech of Asia Argento at the closing ceremony admitting that Harvey Weinstein raped her here 21 years ago.
Culmination of the festival was a triumph of the famous Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda. He received the Palm d’Or for his Shoplifters. This is a drama about a very poor Japanese family often shoplifting for groceries, as they don’t have enough money for existence. Nevertheless, they pick up a little girl from the street who joins their family, but the finale of this story turns out to be unexpected.
The Grand Prix of the festival, it’s second most significant award, went to an unusual comedy from Spike Lee, Black Clan. The protagonist is a black detective who manages to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan. The story is set in the 70s of the last century, but the film ends with shots of last year's clashes in Charlottesville between neo-Nazis and blacks.
Lebanese director Nadine Labaki received the jury award for Capernaum about homeless children in her country.
Samal Eslyamova, an actress from Kazakhstan, won a prize for the best female role in Ayka by Russian director Sergei Dvortsevoy. The best actor of the 71st Cannes Film Festival was Italian Marcello Fonte for his role in Dogman.
We hope that in the near future Azerbaijan will also produce movies qualifying for the Cannes Film Festival. According to director Ilgar Safat in his interview with R+, Azerbaijan also has something to say and show given the socio-political orientation of the category "A" festivals. "Our filmmakers should not stay aside of international cinematographic tendencies. After all, having one’s say at the Cannes Film Festival means speaking from the highest platform of the world cinema. This means that the whole world can hear you. After all, the Cannes is not about the Palm d’Or at all.