Cannes reporters Mila Gauvin II and Caroline A. Tsai offer a daily blog round-up from the 71st annual Cannes Film Festival in France.
After Caroline’s and my harrowing arrival to Cannes, we told ourselves, “Things can only go up from here!” As Caroline relayed in the previous installment of Cannes Par Jour, we were able to reserve a room for two at a much cheaper hotel, just 10 minutes away from the Palais des Festival. When we found the hotel room online, I feared that reserving it on the computer wouldn’t be a quick enough way to book it. After all, according to the website, several other people were looking at the room. Whether the warning was a ploy to push interested parties into making a reservation, or an actual race for one last room in a city full of completely booked hotels, we will never know. Not willing to take the chance, I called the receptionist and managed to get us a 200 euro discount. A room for two on the second day of the Cannes Film Festival? Right next to the beach? That wasn’t insanely expensive? A miracle! (Turns out, it actually was a miracle. A press woman who had come to the same hotel for the past four years during Cannes had a medical emergency and is the only reason why we were able to find an available room in the first.)
Finally, we had a solid plan: Wake up at 7:15 a.m., get our press badges, go see the morning screening of the opening film for the festival, “Everybody Knows,” go back to the emergency hotel before check out at noon, move to the new hotel, grab a quick lunch and sunscreen, and proceed to watch the remainder of the movies Caroline scheduled into her Google calendar, in all its color-coded glory. Sounds doable, if not a bit fast-paced, right?
WRONG. I wake up to the sound of our door opening. It’s the cleaning lady, and she’s here to prepare the room for the next guests. I check my phone, disoriented, and immediately understand. “Caroline,” I yell across the room. She startles awake: “What?!” I raise my voice, “It’s 2 p.m.!” We’ve missed getting our press badges, checking out on time, seeing the red carpet screening of “Everybody Knows,” and getting to our second hotel. Another great start to the day.
The receptionist calls, “Are you planning on staying another night?” Nope, I respond, while Caroline and I both hastily throw the clothes we had haphazardly unpacked and strewn around the room and rush down to the lobby. Thankfully, we aren’t charged for a late checkout, and Uber our way to our new home. Once there, the woman at the desk is nice enough to make up for the traumatic events of yesternight (well, almost: Caroline’s account of our first evening in France was unfortunately not an exaggeration). She gives us a 50 percent discount for breakfast and takes our luggage up to our room herself. We get to our room, where we can finally decompress. There’s free water in the fridge, AC in the room (Yay! No nightly sweltering in air-conditionless France!) and two soft beds awaiting Caroline and me when we enter.
We quickly change and head off to grab our press badges (after passing by the hotel where our former host works, yikes!) when we finally make it to our first screening, “Donbass.” The line we wait in moves surprisingly quick, a somewhat misleading stroke of luck that will come back to screw us over. Next is “Birds of Passage” at another theatre, one associated with the Directors’ Fortnight. I have no idea where it is, so I walk alone, aimlessly wandering around for what feels like forever, Caroline having gone to see a different movie. And walk. And walk some more. Finally I make it (Caroline and I will soon come to find that the walk is actually quite short, less than 10 minutes on the beach, my initial skewed perception by both my aloneness and total cluelessness).
Walking home after a late reunion, we squeeze through the streets of Cannes, filled to the brim with late-night restaurant goers enjoying linguini and oysters, sipping red wine under the looming darkness. Caroline and I stare enviously at their plates, the menus conflictingly disheartening with their delicious meals but expensive prices. We’re tired, hungry—the cheap kiosk sandwiches are good, but will likely get old soon—and will be up for several more hours writing up our first reviews. Guess we’ll just have to catch the next day’s early screening (hint: we sleep through that one too too). But hey, after the hell of Day 0, things could be much, much worse.
—Staff writer Mila Gauvin II can be reached at email@example.com.