HEAD: Cannes III: Familiar unique pleasures
1 EXT. CANNES CITYSCAPE – DAWN
Various perspectives of mostly empty STREETS with occasional STREET CLEANERS in ORANGE VESTS cleaning up from the last evening’s festivities. An occasional STREET SWEEPER is seen hosing down the SIDEWALKS of CIGARETTE BUTTS and TRASH. The CAFÉS are now shuttered and the TABLES AND CHAIRS have been brought in from the SIDEWALKS. The BUILDINGS are of SHOPS, HOTELS, CAFÉS – all of which are now closed.
Loud DUMPTRUCKS can be heard emptying DUMPSTERS down the STREETS, some producing back-up BEEPS. A smattering of SEAGULLS and PIGEONS are hopping and flapping along the SIDEWALKS and among the BUILDINGS.
The SUN, which has not yet risen, casts an emerging glow against the mostly WHITE BUILDINGS. The SKY is clear and blue with wispy clouds over the MEDITERRANEAN.
P.O.V. LOOKING DOWN ONE OF THE STREETS
WE look down one of the quiet STREETS from street level. The view remains fixed as an occasional SCOOTER and CAR can be heard in the distance out of sight. As WE continue to look down the STREET, a SCOOTER can be heard approaching from behind our P.O.V. As it gets louder, it enters our P.O.V. from the left and into our field of view. Our perspective remains fixed as the SCOOTER moves into our field of view and down the STREET in front of us. WE see that on the SCOOTER are a YOUNG COUPLE in ELEGANT EVENING CLOTHING. The YOUNG WOMAN is in a BLACK DRESS and HIGH HEELS that she holds in one hand as she leans on the back of a YOUNG MAN, wearing a BLACK SUIT JACKET and DRESS SLACKS, who is driving the SCOOTER. As they move off away from our P.O.V., it appears they have been up all night at a PARTY somewhere in CANNES and are making their way to a HOTEL. WE watch them (from our fixed P.O.V.) proceed up the STREET and eventually turn down one of the SIDE STREETS.
WE remain looking down this STREET (same P.O.V.) after the SCOOTER COUPLE have turned off and we hear the sound of the SCOOTER slowly fade in the distance down the SIDE STREET. WE continue to look down the STREET as a SEAGULL swoops into view and flaps out of view. WE continue looking down the STREET hearing ambient sounds of nearby activity (DUMPTRUCKS, SCOOTERS, and occasional SHOUTS).
P.O.V. FROM ACROSS THE STREET LOOKING TOWARD A DOOR NEXT TO A CAFÉ
WE abruptly switch P.O.V. to look at one door along this STREET from the opposite side. WE are looking at a GLASS HOTEL DOOR next to a shuttered CAFÉ with its AWNING still extended over the SIDEWALK. There are some PLANTER BOXES with green SHRUBS along the SIDEWALK on both sides of the GLASS HOTEL DOOR.
Just out of view on the left we see and hear the HISS and SPRAY of WATER from a HOSE. The HISS and SPRAY get louder and WE see that one of the CAFÉ WORKERS next door is hosing down the SIDEWALK next to the GLASS HOTEL DOOR. The CAFÉ WORKER periodically enters the view on the left as he continues to HOSE down the area, and when he does WE can see he is wearing a BLACK APRON. WE continue with the P.O.V. as the CAFÉ WORKER moves away from the GLASS HOTEL DOOR and out of view, the HISS of the SPARY now fading.
The morning light subtly increases as we continue to hear a smattering of MOTORS, BIRDS, SHOUTS, and WATER HISSING.
After a while, just inside the GLASS HOTEL DOOR WE can see some movement. A PERSON is coming down the STAIRS just inside the GLASS HOTEL DOOR. The PERSON halts just inside the GLASS HOTEL DOOR and looks down on the FLOOR at some NEWSPAPERS lying just inside the GLASS HOTEL DOOR that are out of view. THE PERSON stands there for some moments and then pushes open the GLASS HOTEL DOOR. WE see that the PERSON is a MAN who has a YELLOW BADGE clipped to the end of a BLACK LANYARD hanging from around his neck. He is also carrying a BLUE CANNES FILM FESTIVAL BAG that is strapped over his shoulder. He exits out the GLASS HOTEL DOOR and walks left down the SIDEWALK and out of our field of view. The MAN’S FOOTSTEPS are loudly audible, just as are all of the other ambient sounds of BIRDS, MOTORS, and occasional SHOUTS.
Off camera, the MAN approaches the CAFÉ WORKER with the HOSE.
(subtitled) Excuse me, good morning.
2 EXT. CANNES STREET – DAWN
P.O.V. REVERSE ANGLE LOOKING DOWN THE STREET
WE now are looking down the same STREET from the reverse angle. From this P.O.V. WE can see more HOTELS, CAFÉS, SHOPS, and RESTAURANTS laid out along the left and right down the STREET – again all closed with some being cleaned with HOSES by WORKERS. Ambient sounds are loud and clearly heard. In the distance between the BUILDINGS and at the end of the STREET is the MEDITERRANEAN SEA and above it blue sky with a wisp of clouds on the horizon.
The MAN’S FOOTSTEPS can be heard from the right. The MAN’S FOOTSTEPS get louder and he enters our view from the right. WE watch (from the fixed P.O.V.) as he walks down the street. When the MAN gets to the end (before it opens to the MEDITERRANEAN SEA), the MAN turns right and out of our field of view. WE hold this P.O.V. as SEAGULLS are seen flying above the MEDITERRANEAN SEA in the distance.
P.O.V. BEHIND THE MAN’S HEAD LOOKING FORWARD
We now follow the MAN as he walks down the STREET. We can see in front of the MAN that he is now walking down a large BOULEVARD with WHITE RAILING between the SIDEWALKS and MEDIAN. In the distance is a LARGE BUILDING with the large BANNER that reads “63e Cannes Film Festival” in blue lettering that is affixed above an ENTRANCE DOOR. As the MAN moves closer to the BUILDING, we can see that there is a bright RED CARPET flowing down the STEPS of this ENTRANCE DOOR and below the BANNER. All the while, we can hear the MAN’S BREATHING and FOOTSTEPS as he walks. The hand-held camera bobs up-and-down with the MAN’S walking. The back of the MAN’S HEAD is on the right side of our P.O.V.
As the MAN gets closer to the BUILDING, we can see that he is approaching a small crowd of PEOPLE who are lining up along one of the WHITE RAILINGS. On the other side of the WHITE RAILINGS are 5 USHERS dressed in BEIGE SUITS and DRESSES. Everyone is standing around silently waiting.
3 EXT. CROWD GATHERING IN FRONT OF WHITE RAILING – MORNING
P.O.V. SIDE ANGLE OF THE PEOPLE MILLING IN FRONT OF THE WHITE RAILING
The USHERS are milling on one the left on the inside of the WHITE RAILING and the 15 PEOPLE are milling on the other side along the right. The PEOPLE are all wearing BADGES at the end of LANYARDS around their necks. Some are reading NEWSPAPERS, others are looking off in the distance or staring at the ground. Two of the PEOPLE are having a conversation in GERMAN. They are discussing some FILMS. WE can hear their conversation at the same volume as the ambient sounds of the morning …
(subtitled) … just like his other work. I don’t know, I really liked the burlesque women in “On Tour” – they seemed authentic to me – but the whole back story of the manager and his troubles with his family and lovers seemed to distract from the story of these women touring France and their excitement and personalities.
(subtitled) I know. But it was much better than that inane Yakuza hack-em-up film “Outrage”. I mean, how many ways can you see people wacked? And all in the service of an empty story of revenge and viciousness? I mean, what was this film doing at Cannes anyway?
As these PEOPLE continue to converse, the MAN joins this group from the right. He stands at the edge of the PEOPLE who are still milling about in front of the WHITE RAILING with the USHERS on the other side.
(subtitled) I know what you mean. This year seems so much less “electric” than last year. We seem to have many straight-forward films, like “Fair Game” about the Valarie Plame Wilson controversy, and “Route Irish” about the personal toll of the Iraq War, and even the “Godfather”-like “Outside the Law” about the Algerian struggle for independence. Still, most of them do have that traditional “Cannes” feel.
(subtitled) “Cannes” feel?
(subtitled) You know, long stretches of people going from one place to another – you know, that scene in that film about the father sending his son off to war in Chad called “A Screaming Man” where we see the father riding his motorcycle over miles and miles of dusty roads to retrieve his son – oh and those scenes of miles and miles of road in that weird Russian film called “My Joy” about that truck driver who encounters all kinds of strange people and mishaps in the
backwards rural areas outside Moscow? These “travel” scenes just go on and on and on.
(subtitled) (laughing) And don’t forget that long scene over the mountains through the snow of that father driving his murderous son to some secluded cabin to protect him from the police after he kills his mother, a young woman and his stepfather.
(subtitled) (laughing) Oh yeah! Who could forget that! I dunno, as much as there are these Cannes-esque techniques – what with plenty of people brooding, screwing, going about their daily lives in poverty or foreign lands or decadence, and many with plenty of people vomiting – they are still better than most of what Hollywood churns out.
The MAN no doubt hears this conversation, but as they are speaking in a foreign language he does not understand it. The MAN fidgets and moves his weight from one foot to the next as he waits with all the other PEOPLE.
(subtitled) Of course, you are right. I mean would Hollywood ever make a film like “Uncle Boonmee” where a man witnesses all of his past lives – even when those may have been animals – and where his son appears all furry like Bigfoot and it’s all done with moody allegory and meditative pacing? Although these films are different, it’s why we come to Cannes.
(subtitled) (dejectedly) Yeah, but sometimes I think, because these films are so arcane and artsy, they seem to be made only for us and not the general public. What good is a film that is so weird and slow and impenetrable if only a handful of us critics ever see it?
(subtitled) (sighing) I don’t know. I’m just glad I’m here.
The TWO PEOPLE fall silent. The MAN, who is now in the middle of this group as others have grouped in behind him, periodically looks to the USHERS anxiously hoping that they will open the WHITE RAILING and let them proceed up the RED CARPETED STEPS and into the THEATER for the next film screening at the CANNES FILM FESTIVAL.
Doug Young has recently returned from Cannes, where he covered this year’s film festival.