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Monday, June 20, 2011 Mademoiselle Usherette's Holiday During the exam period I spent regular intervals checking the latest news, blogs and photographs from this year's Cannes Film Festival, longing to be there and not stuck in my bedroom revising. Well, my wish came true, even though all the film makers, journalists, actors and industry insiders had long gone, I spent a glorious week in the city which is Europe's answer to Hollywood.The Cannes Film Festival is considered the most prestigious film festival in the world and I find if a film has won at Cannes it is always worth watching. Founded in 1946 and now in its 64 th year, this year the festival gave The Tree Of Life starring Brad Pitt its ultimate award, The Palme d'Or.
Other films which received credit and are worth keeping a look out for are novel adaptation We Need To Talk About Kevin , Lars Von Trier's Melancholia and Drive starring the delicious Ryan Gosling. Before landing (at an airport with a runway jutting out into the sea, lined with palm trees and private jets), I had read about the various film murals dotted around the town and was eager to spy a few. The most prominent and easy to spot is a larger than life image of the beautiful and legendary Marilyn Monroe on the Boulevard d'Alsace.
There is another equally impressive painted wall near the bus station known as '100 Years of Cinema' in which one can spot Georges Melies's moon, Mickey Mouse, Lola Bunny, R2-D2 and many more icons of the big screen. Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton also have their own walls, a dedication to Monsieur Hulot's Holiday can be found in the city and Cannes pays homage to the first publicly viewed film, A Train Leaving The Station by the LumiBrothers, appropriately at the train station.The main cinematic attraction is the Palais des Festivals et de Congr built in 1979 to host the film festival. Luckily for film fanatic tourists like me, the red carpet is rolled out all year round, allowing everyone to indulge in a snippet of stardom.
During the festival a strict dress code of tuxes and gowns is imposed on everybody to climb these famous steps and many spend hours loitering to catch a glimpse of their favourite stars. The surrounding area of the festival hall is lined with film maker's and actor's hand prints, a whose who of European and International cinema. It was great fun following the hand prints in the ground, sussing out who the near incomprehensible signatures belonged to and stumbling upon some legends. I was thrilled to come across David Lynch's slab, made the year I was born when he won the Palme d'Or for my favourite film, Wild At Heart , beside which his leading actress Laura Dern's surprisingly dainty hands lay. Spike Lee's hand print made the year his brilliant film Jungle Fever was nominated for the Palme d'Or was another favourite and I enjoyed spending some quality hand on hand time with my favourite French film icon Jean-Paul Belmondo. Unfortunately, with hind sight I realise that Brigitte Bardot and Quentin Tarantino must have been there but I failed to find them... The thing which is really striking about Cannes is the sheer wealth rolling around the city, predominantly along the Croisette which is lined with plush hotels, expensive cars, swanky restaurants, designer outlets and overlooking a harbour teeming with super-yachts.
My friends and I were lucky enough to experience a slice of the lifestyle of the rich and famous as we drank champagne on a yacht which had previously hosted a Calvin Klein launch party, providing a beautiful view of the city as the sun set. We also had an evening at Boali, the night club to be seen at, but only if you have a few thousand to blow. This lavish club has hosted celebrity royalty “ P-Diddy, Natalie Portman, Jude Law, Beyonce, Snoop Dogg, Naomi Campbell and all the rest have partied here with David Guetta regularly DJ-ing. The decoration is lavish and the client ¨le were dressed to impress. However, after seeing one girl pay for a coke with her credit card and somebody else hand over a 200 euro note for four drinks, we shied away from the bar. One day, I hope I can return to this charming part of the world, particularly during the festival with an industry pass and less of a student budget. As we strolled along the promenade, a slight sea breeze taking the edge off the heat I imagined a young Brigitte Bardot, preening herself on the beach for the paparazzi and wished I could have been here during the sexy 60s when the French New Wave had burst onto the scene and glamour was at it's best. Look out for Usherette reviews of this year's Cannes winners in the coming months! Posted by Ms Usherette at 10:08
Mademoiselle Usherette's Holiday