The Official Screening Guide for Cannes dropped today, glowing tantalizingly before me like the golden idol at the start of Raiders of the Lost Ark. There were no spiders or spears getting here, nor was I betrayed by the guy who would one day play Doctor Octopus, but there were definitely a series of hurdles and they’ve all been overcome. All of the important technical details like press passes and plane tickets and passports are nailed down. Even so, it’s still a little hard to believe since this adventure was little more than a vague fantasy just two months ago. I didn’t start the year thinking this was going to happen, yet here we are. As of Monday or Tuesday, I’ll be writing to you from France.

It’s not quite smooth sailing from here on in, however. There are still a few things standing between me and the movies. The big impossibly round boulder which could run over the whole adventure is as simple as the color of press badge I get. This will determine my access to the various screenings. If I were a betting man (and I am), I’d put money on me getting a yellow badge. This is the lowest priority and it means I could show up for a screening hours early and wait in line only to watch in horror as all the people with white or pink or blue passes (in that order) are ushered in ahead of me. Being my first year, this is what I’m prepared for. There’s an outside chance I could score a blue pass since I’m going on behalf of Awards Daily and Sasha has been enough times already to have been upgraded.

I’m still going under the working assumption that I’ll be yellow. And you now what? That’s fine. The good news is that there is more than one screening of each film. The Ark of the Covenant (yeah, ok, done with the Raiders metaphor. I promise) for me this year is Joel and Ethan Coen’s Inside Llewyn Davis. To borrow a line from the brothers themselves, it’s my whole raison goddamn d’etre. It’s playing twice on Sunday the 19th. Once at 11:30 am and then later that evening for the swanky gala premiere.  I’m going to roll the dice and try to get in to the morning screening. If that doesn’t work, the gala is out of the question, but I’ll still have a shot the next day at the follow-up screening.

So, I’m hoping the worst case scenario is that I get a dreaded yellow badge and have to wait 24 hours after the cool kids to see my most anticipated movie of 2013. Fine. It’s still 6 months sooner than if I wasn’t going to Cannes. More than the simple anticipation, this means I don’t have to endure 6 whole months of stupid people with their stupid opinions ruining the movie before I ever get to see it. It’s still one of the enduring miracles of my blogging life that I managed to maintain an almost complete informational blackout on No Country For Old Men before I finally saw it myself. Not this year. It would be funny if Inside Llewyn Davis sucked, but it won’t because they never do.

At this point, the only real fly in my ointment is that I’m going to miss the screenings of Jim Jarmusch’s vampire flick Only Lovers Left Alive and Roman Polanski’s Venus in Fur. They’re screening on Saturday the 25th and I have to bug out back to reality in the United States the day before. That’s a bummer, but I think I’ll get over it.

For those of you keeping score at home, here are the other films I’m most looking forward to and when they’re playing:

  • Thursday 5/16: Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring, Ryan Coogler’s Sundance sensation Fruitvale Station, Francois Ozon’s Jeune & Jolie.
  • Friday 5/17: Asghar (A Separation) Farhadi’s The Past
  • Saturday 5/18: Arnaud (A Christmas Story) Desplechin’s Jimmy P. I’m the only one I know who thought A Christmas Tale was fantastic, but there you go.
  • Sunday 5/19: Inside Llewyn Davis. Cross your fingers.
  • Monday 5/20: Takashi Miike’s Shield of Straw. No idea what Miike has in store, but sign me up.
  • Tuesday 5/21: Steven Soderbergh’s Behind the Candelabra, Claire Denis’ Les Salauds.
  • Friday, May 24: James Gray’s The Immigrant

Also, of course I’m curious, but oddly sort of indifferent to Nicolas Winding Refn’s Only God Forgives on the 22nd and Alexander Payne’s Nebraska on the 23rd.

All of my review writing will be posted at Awards Daily and I’ll keep Living in Cinema updated with links to that, but I’m also kicking around writing a more general “So, this is what Cannes is like” series of entries just for Living in Cinema. We’ll just have to see how that goes. Stay tuned.

17 Responses to “Cannes Foreplay”

  1. Tres excited for you, Monsieur Le Kennedy. :)

  2. Merci, madame Bee

  3. I’ve never been to Cannes, but those who’ve been there tell me that you shouldn’t overlook the sidebar sections and the Marché du Film when figuring out what you’ll watch. Plenty of good stuff in the sidebars this year, as I’m sure you’re aware. And Marché screenings this year new films by interesting filmmakers like Jafar Panahi, Bruno Dumont, and Lynn Shelton, among others.

    Of course, that’s assuming your goal at Cannes is to watch as much as you can. Otherwise I’d suggest not overbooking yourself, lest you hit the dreaded “festival wall” around Day 5. If nothing else, Cannes should give one plenty of chances for leisurely walks on the beach and people-watching and so on.

    Either way, hope you enjoy yourself. Looking forward to reading about it.

  4. That’s great advice. I’m focused at the moment on the competition part of the festival, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Unfortunately, I don’t get automatic access to the Marche du Film which requires it’s own separate accreditation or an invite on a producer by producer basis. I’m going to explore that though when I hit the ground

  5. What sort of access do you have for Quinzaine and Critics’ Week? Because if you can get into those you can catch new stuff by Alejandro Jodorowsky (Quinzaine) and frickin’ Godard (Critics Week). So that’s worth something, methinks.

  6. You know, even if you get the yellow badge and end up denied entry to all your first choice films, you’re still going to be in France.
    On the French Riviera.
    In Spring.
    At Cannes.

    My god, how great is that? I wish you all the luck in the world with this. I have a good feeling about the level of kismet that has gotten you this far, so let’s hope for the best. Try not to do too much while you’re there, and just soak up as much of the experience as you can. Some reviews can wait until you’re on the plane coming back.

    My fingers are crossed that one night you find yourself wandering around town, slightly lost, and a vintage car pulls up with Orson Welles offering you a ride to a swank party with Joe Cotton and Agnes Moorhead. Geez, you’ve already met Marion Cotillard so this doesn’t seem all that impossible.


  7. Congrats, Craig! Have a great time!

  8. Thanks Alison!

    Paul, I’m good for both Quinzaine and Critics Week and I’m going to do my best to reach out to some of the films in the Market because there’s some good shit there.

    Joel, yeah I’m not sweating it. There is no way to lose in this situation. If I’m hit by a bus and killed, I’ll be hit by a bus and killed… IN CANNES.

  9. I wish you a great time there Craig! Surely this will be one of those great ventures that you’ll be talking about for years, even decades into the future, even if you follow this up with future appearances in that movie mecca. I’ll be watching for your reports and updates with great enthusiasm, and I’ll sure they do will be first-rate!

  10. Thanks, Sam. I’m hoping I can do the festival justice and I’m also hoping this is not my last trip! Just in case, I’m going to make the most of it

  11. “I’m the only one I know who thought A Christmas Story was fantastic, but there you go.”

    So Ryan and I don’t count? :-)

    I’ve been to Cannes, but not for the festival. Can’t wait to hear about your broader experience of the festival in addition to your film reviews.

  12. I’m quite fond of “A Christmas Story” as well.

  13. Yeah, Desplechin’s A CHRISTMAS TALE is pretty great. Not quite as good as KINGS AND QUEEN or MY SEX LIFE…, but still awesome.

  14. I loved Kings and Queens as well. Must check out My Sex Life.

  15. Best of luck getting into your desired selections, man. Press badge totem poles make it difficult to catch the good stuff.

  16. Sartre, if you love Mathieu Amalric in KINGS AND QUEEN you’ll most likely love MY SEX LIFE…, which is pretty much all Amalric, all the time.

  17. Heh heh. I said “A Christmas Story” but I don’t think the film I’m thinking of had Ralphie in it.

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