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Cannes Film Festival

Hectic pace slows as end of event draws near

Editor’s note: Sara Jackson, an IPFW student, has been working at the Cannes Film Festival. This is her final story. At the time of this writing, it was about 8:30 p.m. Friday in Cannes, France.

Well, I think that the last several days have taught me an important lesson: the only certainties about Cannes, much like life, are that there are no certainties about Cannes.

I have been seeing everything I possibly can in the last few days, and taking advantage of a slightly less hectic work schedule to explore the town, visit friends and check out some of the extracurricular activities available along the Croisette. I have also been trying to stay very flexible, and have consequently been able to experience some awesome moments and make some great memories.

When I last wrote, it was still the thick of the festival, with tons of parties, special events and lots of commotion. Although it’s still completely nuts here and you can’t walk down Rue d’Antibes (the main street) in Cannes without running into someone famous, it has quieted enough to be a bit less overwhelming.

Tuesday found me face-to-face with James Franco, who is here premiering his new film, “As I Lay Dying,” based on the William Faulkner novel. He visited the American Pavilion for a roundtable discussion with participants in our student programs, and was a resounding hit for his simple advice about the film business.

On Wednesday afternoon, while out and about, I happened to bump into jury chair Steven Spielberg as he was headed back to the Palais for a news conference. Apparently, word on the street has it that most of the jury members view the films in competition in a plush screening room on Spielberg’s private yacht, parked just outside the harbor in the Bay of Cannes. Next time I miss my seating cut-off time, I’m just going to grab the nearest dinghy and head on out there.

Thursday was busy, as I attempted to see “Only God Forgives,” the newest collaboration between actor Ryan Gosling and director Nicholas Winding Refn. While I was unable to get into the screening because of an over-capacity crowd, I did get to roam around the Marché and happened upon jury member Christoph Waltz as he was making his way from a news conference in the Palais to an interview at the Italian pavilion, next door to our own. The jury is far more vocal this year, it seems, as he was giving some feedback on what he’s seen so far.

Later that evening, I got into a showing of “All Is Lost,” the shipwreck adventure-drama starring Robert Redford. The film clocks in at nearly two hours, and its only actor is Redford, who gives a performance that reminds me of “Cast Away.” With perhaps 20 spoken lines, this is definitely an artsy work that might struggle for an audience, but is absolutely fantastic.

Right now, I’m going to go stand in line and try to see the newest Mads Mikkelsen film, “Michael Kohlhaas.” Last year, my favorite film at Cannes was “The Hunt,” also starring Mikkelsen, and there has been a lot of buzz about this entry. I was able to crash the cast’s news conference and photo op Friday, and he was kind enough to talk to some of us afterward about his work on NBC’s “Hannibal” as well.

This is my final dispatch from Cannes, and although we’re not done, we’ve managed to cram as much culture and life into 10 days as is humanly possible. Two more to go, and then I’m free to continue on with further plans for study abroad here in Europe.

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