I woke up this morning full of regret and crepes (Crepes of Wrath??) that dinner last night consisted of a Nutella crepe, a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a glass of wine. In LA, I am the pillar of good health. Quinoa, kale, smoothies… it's nothing but gluten free good times for me! But in France… the wheels fall off, and their use of whole ingredients makes me believe that eating my body weight in bread, cheese and sugar is not only OK, but why, it would be unhealthy not to! Plus, they seem to be pretty much the only options around.
After yet another pain au chocolat for breakfast, I walked through some relentless rain, cursing my giant umbrella. Here in Cannes, the smartest guys are the umbrella sellers posted on every corner. They sell dodgy umbrellas for 10 Euro (you can talk them down to 5), which are guaranteed to break within five minutes, but seem like a good option when you have none. They do a cracking trade, and yesterday I was sucked in once again… and it turned inside out moments later. Dumping it in a bin and getting soaked by the steady stream of rain, I took to “ghosting” behind people -walking close enough to them that they wouldn’t notice but so I was shielded by their umbrella. A nice old English chap busted me, but offered his umbrella as he was leaving in the morning and was close to his hotel. That was wonderfully nice, and it’s sturdy, an official Cannes umbrella no less… but so gigantic that I now poke people in the face as I squeeze through crowds and have therefore, made a fair few enemies.
I’m writing this from the press room at the Palais des Festivals, the hub of the festival and a handy shelter from the rain. Adjoining this building is the Grand Lumiere theatre, where all of the premieres are held, and the 8:30am press screenings of the competition films. This morning, it was ‘Jimmy P (Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian)’, directed by Arnaud Desplechin, and starring Benicio Del Toro and Mathieu Amalric. It’s based on a non-fiction book by the psychoanalyst that Amalric plays in the movie, and though I imagine his findings of the “Plains Indian” Del Toro portrays could be interesting… the film is not. It’s basically two hours of the two talking about Jimmy’s dreams, and NOTHING HAPPENS. No real journey or change for any of the characters, just a whole lot of boring sessions. You know when you get that thing where you can’t stop from nodding off to sleep? I hate when that happens. And that kept happening. It was like an unseen force was dragging me head first into a black hole of sleep. I tried everything, chewing gum, thinking about Jake Gyllenhaal, sitting forward in my seat, holding my eyes open… NOTHING HELPED. At one point I sneaked a look at the time on my phone and was shocked to see only half an hour had passed. There was applause at the end of the screening, but that could have simply been relief that it was all over. Standing in the rain seemed like a better option.
This year the competition is off to a slow start, with Asghar Farhadi’s ‘The Past’ being the only one critics are buzzing about. Until tonight, when I got to see the Coen brothers’ ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’. And loved it. Set in 1960’s New York City, Oscar Isaax plays a struggling folk singer trying to achieve his dreams and get out of his downward spiral. This is the film that will (finally) turn Oscar Isaac into a star. He is brilliant in this touching, tragically funny movie. As is the Coens’ way, the music is wonderful, the dialogue sharp and witty, the characters are interesting, the cinematography is beautiful and the performances are strong. Carey Mulligan is great, very unexpectedly fierce for someone so sweet. Justin Timberlake is pretty good, even though he doesn’t have a whole lot to do. Hell, even the cat is brilliant. I honestly enjoyed every second.
So though the action hasn’t been all that exciting on screen; off, it’s been quite dramatic. There’s been a jewelry heist and an almost shooting near Christoph Waltz. Add to that the rain and I don’t know what is going on. We need a hero. Thank goodness Ryan Gosling is coming into town…