When you are attending the Cannes Film Festival you’ve got to be ready for almost anything, to be spontaneous, for one moment you might be in the queue for a ticket to a movie but then you hear about a fabulous party taking place. Or you get a last minute ticket to a premiere so you would need to have the appropriate clothing. And this was how my last day at Cannes turned out to be.
I had been trying to see a film called ‘Knife & Heart’ and there were going to be several screenings on Friday so I knew I was bound to get into one of them. Unfortunately, the 10 a.m. screening I had planned to attend was a market screening – meaning it was a screening only for buyers – so I was not allowed in as I have press accreditation.
So my backup plan was to attend a screening of a film called ‘Ayka.’
In this German film, a young woman has just given birth but she completely denies it until complications make her accept the fact that she is now a mother.
Something more fun was the next event I attended – the ‘Palm Dog’ ceremony. It’s a cheeky and fun event where an award is given to the best dog performance in a film at the festival. The award went to, of course, the Chihuaha named Joy from the film ‘Dogman.’ The film’s star Marcello Fonte was on hand to accept the prize as well as Producer Jeremy Thomas on behalf of the chihuahua from the film with a stand-in chihuahua. However the adorable puppies from the Critic’s Week winning film ‘Diamantino’ unfortunately didn’t win the award.
There was a 2:00 p.m. screening of ‘Knife & Heart’ but when I got there it was completely full. Oh well. This was meant to be because I had been asked to do an on camera interview about this years film festival and how I felt about the selection of films this year to documentary filmmaker and movie producer (and French resident) Madelyn Most. Once this was done I attended the prestigious ‘Un Certain Regard’ awards ceremony held at the Salle Debussy theatre. Seventeen films had been selected to compete for prizes in this section, and the best film prize went to ‘Grans (Border)’ from Iranian Danish Director Ali Abbasi. It’s about a border patrol agent who is able to sniff out guilt in people. But the agent, as we discover later in the film, is not all human. It’s a strange film and gets more unbelievable as it goes on. Winning for Best Performance is cisgender actor Victor Polster for ‘Girl’ where he plays Lara, a determined 15-year-old committed to becoming a professional ballerina. It was a film I was not able to see in Cannes so I hope to catch it another time. The Un Certain Regard prizes were awarded to the winners by the jury including its president Benicio del Toro.
And so it was meant to be that I was able to get into an 8:00 p.m. screening of ‘Knife & Heart.’ I’ve been told by a few people who had seen it that it was devastating – I found it a bit silly and way too over campy. In it, Vanessa Paradis plays a producer of gay porn who happens to love another woman who doesn’t reciprocate her love, and in the meantime all her actors are being killed one by one by a gay serial killer. The film was actually all a bit of nonsense.
And what way to end my time at the film festival was to attend what is perhaps one of the hottest parties of the week. It was the Queer Palm Awards party. The Queer Palm Award recognises the best LGBTQ-themed film at the festival. This years well-deserved winner was the aforementioned ‘Girl.’ Director Lukas Donht was on hand to receive the award – and it was his first feature. The party was held on the rooftop at the stunning Five Seas Hotel just steps away from the Palais des Festivals building. It’s rooftop bar, with its outdoor swimming pool, was the perfect spot to hold this glamorous party, which was attended by the gay glitterati in town for the festival. Under twinkling stars, the drinks were flowing, well into the night.
By Tim Baros