I had a film in the Short Film Corner at Cannes. It’s not a feature film in competition for the Palme d’Or, but it’s a start. We submitted our film, received a “we are pleased to” email and set about planning our visit to the Croisette.
We learned that our participation grants us two Festival de Cannes badges, which are strictly reserved for members of the film's cast and crew. We figured that if we’re going to make the transatlantic journey, then we’ll go as a group, so I asked for the second badge to be assigned to our director of photography, then asked how much it would cost to buy two more badges.
Oops. Turns out they don’t sell badges, as per the very polite response I got telling me that you have to be invited. I figured since you can buy passes to Sundance you can buy passes to Cannes, but still, rookie mistake.
We learned about a first-timers coaching session to be led by film vet Sydney Levine, which, given that I’d already dopily tried to buy Cannes badges, I obviously could have used. The newsletter subscription kicked in and we started to read up on accommodations, parties, events and other things described by the “Practical Guide to the Festival de Cannes.”
For this reason or that, we couldn’t go. Probably we knew this all along, but we really loved the idea of exploring the potential details of our trip; we enjoyed entertaining the notion of being at Cannes as invited filmmakers, however improbable our trip.
Now what? Thank G-d for Roger Ebert. Aside from being the world’s greatest living film critic, he’s also a prolific user of Twitter. The steady stream of text and images flowing from Roger offered various ways to experience the festival vicariously, and so I would like to present:
“Roger & Me or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Tweet.”
Thanks to Roger I was able to do what all cinephiles do: Watch images on a screen and dream.
Turns out Roger is an early riser and likes to take a morning walk as part of his daily ritual, as shown here (left). What I love about this photo is its slice-of-life sensibility, It isn’t flashy or amazing, it’s a shot of an empty street under a bright blue morning sky, with a shopkeeper setting up for the day, putting out and lining up her freshest fruits. The array of Granny Smith apples on the end look particularly suitable to fuel a morning stroll through town … and I realize that they could be pears but don’t correct me, I’m a nonconformist.
Another classic morning shot Roger shared is this one. In this case it’s the look of the wet pavement along with Roger’s description of how “you feel you must have just missed the rain.” For anyone who is a transplant to Los Angeles or who otherwise grew up with rain, this brings back a lot of memories -- fond ones in my case. I always loved the smell right after it rains, that fresh feeling of the air. I also like the people having breakfast in the sidewalk café, coffee and croissant on a chilly, invigorating start to the day … and of course the signpost pointing to the Palais.
Under the “life is sweet” heading, Roger posted this picture of the beach at the American Pavilion. We were invited to the Emerging Filmmaker Showcase at the American Pavilion, and thanks to Roger I got a look at the place. It wouldn’t be the French Riviera without the beach. One thing I particularly love about this image is the colors: white fence, red shirt, white table, red flowers.
These sorts of scenes are the ones I pictured in my mind as I planned out my would-be trip to the Croisette, dreams subsequently made real in the form of images shared by Roger Ebert. Thanks, Roger.