Monday, May 24, 2010

Anna Adler's Adventures in Cannes: ICM, Flip Flops, and Films

University of Pennsylvania student Anna Adler has been diligently keeping us up to date on her trip to the Cannes Film Festival. This is her final post. Enjoy!

I can't believe it has come time for me to leave already! This was such a unique and truly outstanding experience. On Friday, we (the students) had a number of meetings with the program regarding our final paper, which we have a month to complete after the trip is over. Because of this, I did not see any movies that day because the screening times didn't correlate with these other commitments. Instead, Jeff Berg, who is the chairman and CEO of International Creative Management (ICM) (and also a Penn parent), invited us all to his suite at the Carlton Hotel to talk to us about his career path. In particular, he discussed the way in which he broke into the entertainment industry and moved up to his high position. I thought one great piece of advice he gave was to really try to see films of cultures with which you are unfamiliar. Cannes is the perfect opportunity to do this because it is where industry professionals come together from all over the world and display their respective creative works. I believe that I have really challenged myself as a "voyeur" throughout this program--I used to be a little bit intimidated and resistant to watching something so different from what I was used to. Now, I have seen so many amazing films that I know I would have never chosen to see had I not been here, and as a result, will be more open in the future.

Today (Sunday) started out very frustrating, and I thought I was going to have to leave this place on a slightly bad note. Since it was the last day of the festival, all of the main competition and films categorized as "of certain regard" were played again before the prizes were given out. On my way down to the Croisette, I found out that my pass could only serve as an entry ticket to the films that were being shown in the Salle Debussy theater, and only three films of the entire lineup were being shown here; I needed a better pass if I wanted to try to see anything else. I got to the 12 p.m. screening of Mike Leigh's Another Year about thirty minutes before the doors closed, and when I arrived, the line to get in was already around the block. Because of my past good luck with these situations, I thought I would persist and see if I could get in, but the theater filled up as I was approaching the front of the line. While I was slightly annoyed, I realized that Xavier Beauvois' Des Hommes et Des Dieux was going to be the next movie shown in this same theater in a few hours, so I made sure to get in line very early to prevent the screening filling up again. When I went to go show my badge to enter, however, the guard looked down to my feet and refused to let me in because I was wearing flip flops. What was even worse was that he let the next man in behind me who was wearing sandals "without backs," but he claimed that his "were nicer than mine." I was so angry at this point! After I went back to the College International to change my footwear, I was really upset because no other films were going to be played at the Debussy that day. Despite this, I didn't give up and made a paper sign to try to get into the only Lumiere premiere of the day, Julie Bertuccelli's The Tree. In the process of this, a friend of mine in the program with me messaged me that the guards were letting any badges pass to get into Im Sangsoo's The Housemaid, and I quickly jumped in on this opportunity.

Although this movie is very sad, its ambiguous ending (which is similar in this way to Poetry's) has kept me thinking about the film since I've left the theater. What particularly struck me about this film was Sangsoo's deliberate construction of the "mise-en-scene," using lots of imagery of closed and open doorways to represent what is "out in the open" for all to know, and "hidden inside" for the others to figure out.

While I missed getting into the Festival Closing while I was in The Housemaid, I was so happy to hear that Poetry won for best screenplay, and that I had the opportunity to see it while I was in Cannes. I definitely want to see the rest of the films that won a prize when they become available for viewing in the States. I learned so much in the past two weeks, and my love for cinema is now stronger than ever. Even with all of the new ways to view films--on laptops, iPods, premium television, etc.--there is nothing comparable to attending and viewing these types of movies in the magical environment of the Festival de Cannes!

We at Bryn Mawr Film Institute wish Anna many more adventures, cinematic and otherwise, and thank her for sharing her trip to Cannes with us. Au revoir!

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