The sun finally began to shine, the shades came out, and the Irish talent was in full force on Monday, with particular excitement building for Last Days on Mars, the debut feature film from Irish director Ruairi Robinson which was screened as part of the Quinzaine des Realisateurs (The Directors' Fortnight).
At nine o clock, an hour before the scheduled screening time, I wandered over to the Theatre Croisette, right by the renowned VIP Rooms, and by then the queue was around the corner, with a huge international array of faces lining up to get in.
The atmosphere was lively and appreciative as Ruari introduced the film on stage. Knocking all preconceptions of an Irish film, with no green fields and no Dublin accents, his debut sci-fi was more reminiscent of Ridley Scott’s Prometheus. Last Days on Mars is about an astronaut who discovers a lifeform on the red planet and makes the mistake of thinking of taking it back to Earth.
The bacterium, however, turns out to have the nasty power of turning all crew members into grotesque zombie-like creatures. The LA Times has already praised it: ''The story may be familiar, but the way Robinson has directed it is undeniably gripping.''
On Tuesday morning, we caught a public talk by director Jane Campion over at the short film corner. Campion was at the festival as head of the short film jury and President of the Cinefondation. She gave an inspiring (and fairly intimate) discussion about her career, being the only woman to win the coveted Palm D'or and what it meant to be back. Amongst the attendees I bumped into was English director Sophie Elizabeth Black.
Last night, stunning fireworks lit up the Croisette as I dined on steak and frites. A huge display of colours lit up the whole Croisette and there was an array of beach parties littered with socialites who I couldn't really ever imagine on a film set. I ended up going to a party in Bailoi Beach followed by the renowned Continental Hotel.
After a day of meetings, I was wishing I could catch a good film and neither were exactly my scene, Botox lips and tulle gowns were the norm - it was a very smoozy side of the industry. Anyhow, I had my 11 Euro diet coke and chatted to various people who invited me from everything to a yacht party to a Fashion TV party but I did meet a wonderful Irish award-winning director John Deery who I had a good conversation with.
Based in Twickenham studios, he is known for his Chris O'Dowd and Brenda Fricker film Conspiracy Of Silence. He's in Cannes raising finance for his next film which is based in Jerusalem. However, like all the successful film people I noticed, he was one of the first to dash off from the soirees. I also met Irish duo Lisa Byrne and Johnny Richardson who are producing their first supernatural feature.
Today I plan on catching a red carpet screening of Only God Forgives but word on the street is that star Ryan Gosling won’t be attending as he is working on his directorial debut. However, right now I am dashing off to get booked for Weekend of a Champion, a restoration of the 1972 documentary about racing driver Jackie Stewart, with a special presentation by Roman Polanski.
Emma Eliza Regan