Impressions Of A Cannes Virgin: Why My First Time At Cannes Was A Special One!

By Kalpana Nair. Posted on May 17, 2016

It's Cy-anne not Kah-nn and definitely not Kah-nz. It's Cy-anne like in 'can of worms'. Except there are no worms in Cannes. Because worms are not beautiful and cannot walk the red carpet. Also because worms cannot wear heels.

If the above paragraph sounds a little disjointed and incoherent, it is because that's my current state of being - a cinephile-turned-babbling idiot. It's only day two of the world's number one film festival and I am in the throes of a syndrome I call Festival OD. This is a condition where you have seen, experienced and dropped your jaw so many times that you feel like throwing the contents of your festival bags up in the air like Aamir Khan does in the song Pehla Nasha and plonking your butt down in the middle of the road and meditate for 20 minutes to clear your brain.

Instead I am writing about my experience of attending the festival.

Kalpana Nair & Anupama at Cannes

                                   From (L-R) - Kalpana Nair, Anupama Chopra and Anu Rangachar at Cannes

I landed in Cannes two days back as part of the MAMI team with Cannes veterans and MAMI Festival Director Anupama Chopra (Festival Director) and Head of International Programme -Anu Rangachar. Our mission is to watch as many kickass films as possible, scout for cinematic gems, bring them to the Jio MAMI 18th Mumbai Film Festival With Star, meet distributors and sales agents, build collaborations with other festivals and partners and watch the world's best film festival unleash its magic.

And magic it indeed is. The Cannes Film Festival is a labyrinth of screenings, red carpets, gossip, glamour and business. This year the festival line-up is studded with names like Park Chan-wook, Woody Allen, Pedro Almodovar, Xavier Dolan, Cristian Mungiu, Steven Spielberg and Nicolas Winding Refn.

And it all kicked off with an opening ceremony that features a conveyor belt of stupendous filmmakers and actors. And thanks to a truly divine alignment of luck and Anupama Chopra's perseverance, I had the opportunity of attending the world's biggest film festival.

Cannes 3

Now I am usually not star struck. But when one sees Woody Allen, Susan Sarandon, Julianne Moore, George Miller, Donald Sutherland, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Stewart, Jesse Eisenberg, Gael Garcia Bernal and Mads Mikkelsen walk into the same auditorium as you, one begins to understand what an out of body experience possibly is. The master of ceremonies for the evening was comedian Laurent Lafitte who cracked jokes (some of which were uncomfortable), introduced the juries and entertained us.

Catherine Deneuve walked in for a minute, kissed Laurent for a minute and then walked out without explanation. The stage went purple in homage to Prince and Jessica Chastain declared the festival open which was followed by a screening of the opening film - Woody Allen's Cafe Society. As the credits rolled, I felt like a glutton who had wolfed down the year's supply of chocolate in one sitting. But I'll have another please.


Kalpana Nair who is the co-ordinator for the International Programme at Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival writes about her first ever experience of attending the Cannes Film Festival.


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