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Cannes 2015 Dispatch #1: This Place is Insane (in a Good Way)

Cannes 2015 Dispatch #1: This Place is Insane (in a Good Way)

I arrived in Cannes yesterday. After getting my bearings (or doing my best to do so), I was able to make it to a press screening for the festival’s opening film, “Standing Tall.” I so admire Catherine Deneuve. I remember really understanding the Denueve Effect for the first time when I saw “Indochine” many years ago. Emmanuelle Bercot’s drama is about the social welfare system in France. Bottom line: poverty sucks. It was a very interesting story, how kids born on the wrong side of the tracks just have everything stacked against them, but the film could have benefitted from being 30 minutes shorter. 

It is very hard to describe Cannes; it’s just so big and glamourous. What they do here is remind us that movies shouldn’t just be seen in your house, but should be big and celebrated. As a person who spends a lot of time watching films on the small screen, this is a reminder that films are BIG and should be embraced as such. Everything here is over the top, intense and overwhelming.

This morning, I saw “Mad Max” at 8:30am. With 2500 people. It was an intense experience, an assault on all my senses. The movie, which hired Eve Ensler as a kind of gender-equality consultant, really was a feminist post-apocalyptic epic. Charlize Theron was epic. Furiosa will become an icon. I want her action figure now! George Miller’s visual style is unique. There were hardly any words in the film; the music led the way. It will make tons of money everywhere. People applauded during the film, which I have been told is unheard of here. 

I was also able to attend the kick-off event for the Kering Talks with Isabella Rosellini and French producer Claudie Ossard (“Amelie”). The event was billed as a conversation about sexism, but sadly it really wasn’t. With all due respect for pushing this issue at a festival that really needs it, neither woman was up on the stats or any recent issues like the ACLU request to the EEOC, so the expectation of it being a conversation about issues related to what’s going on for women did not materialize. Kering is investing big on this issue and will be holding an awards ceremony on May 17 honoring Jane Fonda and Megan Ellison.

Isabella Rosellini talked about how hard it is for women in the business to combine work and family and that she feels she is a storyteller, which is what led her from acting to directing. Her mother, Ingrid Bergman, is the face of the festival this year (there is a documentary about her premiering for her 100th birthday), and she reminded us that her mom was one of the women who was able to have a big career in Hollywood and in Europe. 

What the event reminded me is how much work we need to do in getting information out to people. The false narratives of how young men still dominate the box office and the mindset of Hollywood were rampant in the conversation. Let’s remember the real stats. Women buy half the tickets and comprise half the audience. We are here. Our stories matter. 

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