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Cannes Diaries: Screening in the rain

  • Published at 06:46 pm May 20th, 2019
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan at the Cannes Film Festival 2019 | Reuters

One would think that the rain would dampen the spirits of the film pilgrims, enough to keep them under their blankets. But no—the lines to get into screenings are as long as ever

Monday was day seven of the Cannes Film Festival and it has been raining for the last five days. The last two days were particularly hard to get around as it was pouring all day long. 

The festival’s mood swings with the weather:

The summer days at Cannes are very long. Light finds its way into the French Riviera even as late as 9pm. This year has been colder and wetter than usual, say festival regulars. The ones visiting for the first time are struggling to match the Cannes red carpet looks we see in the magazines to what we end up wearing each day here—layers of warm clothing and snow boots, accessorised with the 5-Euro umbrella we had to buy from some street vendor. 

It is hard enough to make a fashion statement in this super-expensive, super-classy city even on the brightest of days. It is particularly harder when it rains and everyone laments about not being able to look their best. But when the wind blows so hard that your umbrella folds in the wrong direction, there’s really no point in trying to stand out from the crowd for the right reasons. 

Cars on the roads and the pedestrians on the pavements slow down in this weather and you need to keep more time in hand to get to any screening. Umbrellas collide left and right and for a Lady Gaga-sized girl in an Alexander Skarsgard- sized world, it’s hard to avoid these clashes. 

The line doesn’t get any shorter for the rain:

One would think that the rain would dampen the spirits of the film pilgrims, enough to keep them under their blankets. But no—the lines to get into screenings are as long as ever. 

People stand drenching in the rain on the streets, as there isn’t enough space to hold up umbrellas. It made me wonder how much these people love films to go through all this in such weather. 

On time is too late:

To successfully enter any screening at Cannes, even as a jury, you have to arrive at least 15 minutes ahead of the scheduled time. The festival officials release the reserved seats a few minutes before the film starts, and unless the film is particularly unpopular, there is no chance of getting a free seat if you arrive at the last minute. 

Some theatres follow Bangla time: 

A lot of the screenings start 10-15 minutes late. This is most inconvenient for the late night screenings and the back to back screenings at different theatres. If you have a meeting or a bus or train to catch right after the movie ends, it’s best to keep that extra time in hand because you can’t always leave the theatre till the movie finishes.

Can’t “go” after screenings: 

One of the most “inconvenient truths” about the Directors’ Fortnight and Critics’ Week screenings is that you can only use the restroom before a screening. After the movie is over, you exit the building through the fire escape or some alternative route. Festival people are not allowed to wait in the hotel lobbies till the next screening, even if both the screenings are at cineplexes in the same hotel. 


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