Whether it’s Cannes or the White House, it's all politics.
Cannes: Wednesday, May 17, 2017
The first day of the Cannes film festival I am starting with a cup of black coffee at the American Pavilion. The venue is on the beach, from which I can see the pavilion of the country of my voluntary exile, former Yugoslavia. Watching the countries who went to war to break apart now exhibiting together, I find symbolic. Even in Cannes, sitting on the “American soil”, a very glamorous American soil with the Oscar-winning movie stars, evokes a sense of freedom and confirms the universality of the American dream.
For those who are showing their movies in The Competition, the dreams indeed came true. American pavilion has a long tradition among the festival goers as one of the most sought-after destinations in Cannes, not only for their legendary members’ party but also for the incredible events they are putting together each year. In the coming days, Spike Lee and Wim Wenders, among many others, will talk to a select group of attendees about filmmaking.
A friend tells me that Al Gore is coming to Cannes and asks whether I would be interested to know nmore. “I got away from the White House Press Corps for two weeks to write about the world outside of politics”, I expalined, but strangely enough, everyone wants to talk to me about Donald Trump.
I make a stop at the beach of the Carlton hotel for the cocktail reception DDA is hosting.There, again, the producer from Newport, California, cannot stop talking about Donald Trump. He clearly is Hillary’s supporter and he talks, talks and talks as if I were at least the spokesman of POTUS and he was hoping to pass him the message.
I tell him that I am interviewing Marion Cotillard tomorrow so I excuse myself from the conversation to go and attend the premiere of Ismael’s Ghost. There, Will Smith, bored with being stuck in the traffic, is getting out of the black car to walk his way to the red carpet. He is extremely friendly to everyone behind the fence who’s calling his name. Will Smith has surpassed the pitfalls of fame, in fact, all the biggest stars are extremely up front and personal as they are craving a human connection. While their publicists are selling them as untouchable, they are interested in accessing a real conversation. Inside of the Grand Théâtre Lumière, Master of Ceremonies, Monica Belluci walks out on the stage in a midnight-blue gown stating: “I proclaim the Cannes Film Festival Open!”
Cannes: Thursday, May 18, 2017
It is around 10 am and I am at the Kering suite of the Majestic hotel for the by invitation only Women in Motion talk with Robin Wright. I ask her about her journey into womanhood. We are usually led to believe that true confidence comes easily to strong and successful women when in fact, it is always a process of growing into it. Robin Wright demystified that myth not only for me but for all the women around the world who are fighting for gender equality. It is 3 pm and I am on the rooftop of JW Marriott situated on the Croisette. I am meeting the Oscar-winning actress Marion Cotillard. She is wearing olive green pants and white shirt. Marion is lounging on the sofa wearing no shoes. She seems to be pretty fed up with the world of fame. She tells me how at one point she stopped reading newspapers and started laughing at the stories the journalists invented about her and Brad Pitt.
Wile we talk about the movie, Ismael’s ghost, Marion Cotillard tells me “you have to be strong in front of people who try to destroy your life. You have to be strong”.
On my way back from the interview with Marion, despite being almost two hours late, I decided to make a stop at the gala reception at the Russian Pavilion. They are serving champagne and strawberries but the vibe is strangely socialists. ]From there, I move to the American pavilion members’ cocktail party. The band is playing, open bar and the flow of delicious food. Everyone is upbeat and happy.
On my way to the premiere of Loveless, I received an email from Emma from The Weinstein Company (TWC) about the event they are throwing at Martinez with Michael Moore about his documentary “11/9” which refers to the day Donald Trump was declared President of the United States, at 2:29 AM on the morning of November 9th, 2016.
Moore is currently directing the film, which he has kept under wraps for many months.
Emma tells me that Bob and Harvey Weinstein have acquired worldwide rights to the film through The Fellowship Adventure Group, a subsidiary established back in 2004 when they acquired rights to Moore’s record-breaking documentary Fahrenheit ?9/11.
Just a few minutes after the premiere of Loveless, I received an email that my interview with one of my favorite actress from the Mad Man, among other fabulous roles she performed, Elisabeth Moss is scheduled for this Sunday.
Cannes: Friday, May 19, 2017
I am arriving at the British pavilion for an intimate talk with the producers of The Killing of The Sacred Deer. They are talking about their decision-making process for deciding to produce movies. Sam Lavender tells me that he is interested in the depth of thought and time commitment a filmmaker puts in the project. At the time when everyone is trying to tell me how I should only write short emails as no one has the time or interest to read anything lengthy and complex, there are powerful people in the film industry who are interested in depth and meaning and vision.That puts me at peace that the road less travel it may be a bit longer but it takes one for sure to their destiny.
It’s 2:30 pm and I am interviewing the award-winning Russian filmmaker Andrey Zvyagintsev who returned to Cannes with a heart wrenching film Loveless. Andrey is a big critic of Putin and tells me that he does not want to take the government’s money to finance his movies.
The room where the interview is taking place is small and it has Mark Rothko paintings on the wall. Suddenly, I feel like I am in one of Zvyagintsev’s movies. There is a translator present, as Andrey does not speak a word of English. His film Loveless revolves around broken relationships and disconnect. We start talking about film, literature and happy endings and Andrey opens a brand new world of meaning to me. He is telling me how in his movies, he is usually interested in stories that happen five or ten years after the couple got together when life is in crisis and they start to ask themselves why did they even get together in the first place.
After talking to Andrey, I am meeting with the cast members, actors Maryana Spivak and Alexei Rozin. They tell me that America and Russia are not at war, that it is all in people’s heads. “It’s also on CNN”, I say, but we are in all in lovely Cannes watching movies and drinking Moet.
My first 72 hours in Cannes. It is not about blockbusters, it is about humanity. That’s why we all love Cannes.