o THE Cannes Film Festival 2015 is on. And with it, the glitz, the glamour and the high-profile publicity seekers who fill the quiet, French Riviera town, where strolls on the Croisette are replaced by red carpets, designer gowns and a frenzy of parties and paparazzi. Already Twitter is generating reams on best dressed and worst dressed lists, how French actress and jury member Sophie Marceau got major media flak for her fashion faux pas and wardrobe malfunction, why Matthew McConnaughey got booed, and the derriere-flashing gowns sported by Eva Longoria and Natalie Portman.
With social media’s reach bigger than ever before, there’s little wonder at why the sublime shares media space with the ridiculous. Cannes, always the chosen launching pad for cinema of note, has also equally been about the attention-grabbers – in pre-social media days, Cannes watchers might recall a starlet called Pia Zadora who stole headlines in a barely-there swimsuit in 1982. So no wonder then that designers are keen to showcase their wares as the images are flashed on every smartphone within minutes.
Here are some of the highlights from this Cannes red carpet, where celebs always bring their fashion A game: Sonam Kapoor got Twitter attention via jokes and memes for her Big Bird-meets-Swan Lake ensemble by Elie Saab which might have taken an entire aircraft to transport there. Her Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla black butterfly number fared better, as did Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s simple white Stella McCartney shirt and trousers, but the latter wasn’t as lucky with her turquoise Elie Saab gown, deemed ‘fussy’. Julianne Moore was dubbed striking, as were Sienna Miller and Lupita Nyong’o.
The real business – that of films — gets a tad lost in all the hoop-la, but the producers don’t seem to mind. So Disney-Pixar’s Inside Out got public applause and the Cate Blanchett-Rooney Mara 50s lesbian romance, Carol won critical acclaim. Marguerite and Julien, the incestuous love story set in 15th century France got panned, not praised. And film buffs flocked to see the restored black and white post war crime classic, The Third Man (one of my own all-time favourites), which won Palme d’Or in 1949 and is part of the Orson Welles’ tribute. Want more? Try tributes to the legendary Ingrid Bergman and guest of honour, filmmaker Costa Gavras.
Cannes is ultimately, the supreme example of the light and frothy with the serious and impactful, an event made for modern times and for people of all tastes, preferably with cellphone in hand. Maybe French actor Mathieu Amalric was right when he said, ‘‘Cannes is a circus, so you have to have fun with it.’’ So if you prefer, go ogle the million-dollar diamond collar worn by supermodel Isabeli Fontana at the Chopard party. I’m off to watch Orson Welles’ play, Third Man Harry Lime again on my DVD.