Festival Dispatch

Three Reasons Why I’m Excited to Go to Cannes (Aside from the Whole French Riviera Thing)

Published on May 11, 2017

Cannes. I’m still unsure how pronounce it without sounding like a Midwestern hick. But I know for certain that for nearly two weeks every May, the beach city in the South of France hosts the most glamorous film festival in all the world. This is a gathering in which last year, Steven Spielberg left the black-tie after-party for his movie, The BFG, by literally stepping onto his personal yacht on the Mediterranean. The unofficial rule about heels-only on red-carpeted-steps up to the Palais during evening premieres? It’s real, mon cherie. Sure, Julia Roberts can get away with going barefoot. But when you look like Julia Roberts from the ankles up, going rogue is permissible.

The 70th annual Cannes Film Festival starts May 17, and my badge and I will be there to cover it all. (#roughlife.) Here are three reasons why this edition has potential for greatness.



1. The Kidmanissance Rages On!

This is Nicole Kidman. You may know her from such acclaimed films as The Hours and Moulin Rouge! She’s married to Keith Urban and used to be wed to Tom Cruise. And in 2017, this A-list-with-a-capital-A has raised her game. Put it this way: You know you’ve had a good year when an Oscar nomination for Lion is an afterthought because you managed to out-shine Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern in Big Little Lies. The 49-year-old actress — she turns 50 in June! — has a whopping four projects at the festival. The most intriguing offering: Sofia Coppola’s take on The Beguiled, in which she plays an evil headmistress of a school for girls in 1864 Virgina. Bonus: This impressive lineup also translates to four different opportunities to look stunning on the red carpet. Is there nothing this woman can’t do?!



2. Possibly the Most Intriguing VR Project Yet

The future of cinema is here, and it’s called VR cinema. In non-geek terms, this is a medium in which viewers put on heavy goggles and earphones and lose themselves in a fully immersive, 360-degree experience. The Sundance and Tribeca Film Festivals have already devoted full-on arcades stock full of mini-films and games. There’s only one offering and Cannes, and it’s a doozy. In Carne Y Arena, Alejandro G. Innaritu — the Oscar-winning director of Birdman and The Revenant — and his cinematographer, three-time Oscar winner Emmanuel Lubezki, have collaborated on brand-new technology to create a large human canvas. Here’s the official description: “Based on true accounts, the superficial lines between subject and bystander are blurred and bound together, allowing individuals to walk in a vast space and thoroughly live a fragment of the refugees’ personal journeys.” I’m in.


Sherilyn Fenn (left) and Kyle MacLachlan

3. Two Words: Twin Peaks

Weird confession time: I never quite understood the appeal of Twin Peaks when the cult show originally aired on ABC in the early 1990s. Agent Cooper and the cherry pie and the log lady and the creepy dad and when is it over so I can watch more episodes of America’s Funniest Home Videos. What can I say? David Lynch’s distinct quirkiness didn’t appeal to 15-year-old me. And yet, I devoured the Diary of Laura Palmer book. It was greatest piece of trash this side of Flowers of the Attic. How can this woman be dead, dammit! This, in turn, reconnected me to the series. And while I’m still not one of those people who flipped out when Lynch announced the reboot, I am indeed anticipating Peaks 2.0. Two episodes of the series —now airing on Showtime, thank goodness — will premiere during the festival. Doughnuts > Croissants.