Greetings from Cannes, where monsoon-type weather managed to rain on director Baz Luhrmann’s parade at the festival-opening premiere of The Great Gatsby. Heavily choreographed in retro outfits and vintage cars, dozens of costumed extras were left singing in the rain on the red carpet. Reviews for Luhrmann’s lavish literary romance proved equally soggy, but at least the star-studded after-show party was suitably fabulous. Joining Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan and Tobey Maguire was a gallery of famous guests including the controversial comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, the Hollywood diva Julianne Moore, the French screen queen Audrey Tautou and – bizarrely – the orange-faced Baywatch veteran David Hasselhoff.
After a damp start, the festival struck a more confident note on Thursday and Friday with early Palme d’Or favourites emerging in the shape of the local hero Francois Ozon’s Young and Beautiful, an intense study of adolescent sexuality, and the Iranian award-winner Asghar Farhadi’s masterful marital drama The Past. But as the weekend began, the drama spilt off the movie screens and on to the streets of Cannes.
In the early hours of Friday, Chopard jewellery, initially reported to be worth more than US$1 million (Dh3.67m), was stolen from a hotel on the edge of town. The upmarket Swiss company has since said the value has been exaggerated. With delicious irony, the festival had just screened the director Sofia Coppola’s new film The Bling Ring, based on a true criminal case about Los Angeles teenagers stealing luxury goods from celebrities.
Later on Friday, chaos erupted when shots were fired during a live French TV broadcast on the Cannes beach. Actors and the festival’s jury members Christoph Waltz and Daniel Auteuil, being interviewed at the time, were instantly rushed offstage. A man was quickly arrested, reportedly carrying a gun that fires blanks. Scary stuff, but great publicity all the same. Maybe Baz Luhrmann should have hired him to spice up that waterlogged Gatsby -premiere.
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