Despite "Cannes" lending itself so well to painful headline puns, it, along with all festivals, is frustratingly difficult to cover. Other than reporting on who’s bought which film, the average festival dispatch, by its very nature, has to consist of hasty reviews of films that generally won’t be in theaters for at least half a year, alongside zeitgeist reports of which films are generating the ever-longed-for buzz. Cannes has the added obstacle of state of alert-style color coded levels of press pass importance (which A.O. Scott amusingly details in the New York Times), leading to reporters reporting on how they couldn’t get into the screening they were supposed to write about.
Fortunately, Cannes also has the highest percentage of famous people of any festival in the world, and famous people, as we all known, are great to read about, particularly when they make broad statements to the press and fight with each other.
The great Charlotte Rampling gets the first pull-quote sally in the Guardian with her opening-night comments on Hollywood’s treatment of older women: "The system is not as barbaric in Europe as it is in America. If a woman is prepared to age it can be quite beautiful, and having wrinkles is not a reason to be put away. In Europe they understand that, thank god." In the same article, some oblique quotes from Palme d’Or jury chair Emir Kusturica, rather famously eccentric, who asserts that this year’s jury process will not be democratic — rather, they would "concentrate only on aesthetics."
The Globe and Mail has fabulously snide coverage of the opening night press conference, during which moderator Henri BÃ©har went so overboard introducing each jury member that there was hardly time left for questions. Which brings us to this:
BÃ©har waxed particularly effusive about juror Toni Morrison,
saying he didn’t know whether to bow down before her or stand at
attention several paces behind, and he was turning his body into a
pretzel trying to decide. Perhaps the adulation went to the author’s
head, or more likely she was trying a joke that didn’t quite translate
to the French press, who looked mildly puzzled as she spoke. When asked
about her qualifications to judge film, she gave this unfortunate
response: "I know that my judgment is infallible. I am not part of this
industry, so I bring my infallibility and my enthusiasm."
This is by far the best justification for one’s lack of credentials we’ve ever come across, and, as we’re constantly short on any qualifications, we’re planning on citing our innate infallibility from now on whenever anyone questions us. Thank you, Toni.