Cannes 2011 Parties: What's Hot on the Croisette (Cannes)
Monday, May 16, 2011
THE TREE OF LIFE
The Tree of Life planted its seeds at the Terrazza Martini on Monday night to fete Terrence Malick’s Competition title. Like Malick’s film itself, there was much anticipation and a long wait, only to be a disappointment in the end. A huge crowd gathered outside on the Croisette and invited guests battled it out on a long line before they were allowed to enter.
Attendees: Faye Dunaway came and left early, choosing to chat with a friend in the blocked-off VIP section all alone while other guests sipped cocktails at the bar. French actress Elsa Zylbertstein also made a quick cameo as did actor Vincent Perez. Superproducer Luc Besson made an appearance. Jane Fonda caused a stir among the photographers when she made a dramatic entrance before heading to the VIP quarters, where she sat and chatted with friends. French actresses Elodie Bouchez and Aissa Maiga plus Colombiana star Zoe Saldana added feminine glam to the evening. Missing in action were Tree of Life director Terrence Maick and stars Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain, who enjoyed a long cast dinner instead of the party.
Cuisine: Guests sipped a variety of basic cocktails from the Terrazza Martini bar and nibbled on tiny — and scarce — finger foods.
Highlights/Lowlights: Fonda and Dunaway added classic star power to the event, but the battle outside to get into the party and the dozens of camera-ready guests gathered at the entrance waiting for the film’s M.I.A. cast to arrive made the party more of a paparazzi scene than a swank soirée.
2/5 martini glasses
CJ Entertainment’s bash for My Way was as low key and chill as Kang Je-gyu’s war epic is bloody and action packed. From the perch of the Chateau du Cercle, guests looked down upon Cannes at night, safe from the maddening crowd.
Attendees: Kang and the entire My Way cast, including Jang Dong-gun, Fan Bingbing and Odagiri Jo parachuted in from the set in Latvia for the party before flying back at 6:30 the next day. Also schmoozing was a who’s who of the Korea’s film biz, from Busan International Festival director Lee Yong-Kwan and his predecessor Kim Dong-ho to Korean Film Council chairman Kim Eui-Seok to director Kim Yong-Ha (Take Off). Berlin Film Festival director Dieter Kosslick was one of the few non-Asian execs in the crowd.
Cuisine: Food and drink are as much a part of Korean culture as carved porcelain and Jeongjaemu dance. Guests dug into plentiful finger food and melt-in-your-mouth stir-fried shrimp seasoned with garlic and ginger.
Highlights/Lowlights: Jang Dong-gun gave the world’s best, and shortest, Cannes party opening speech -- imploring guests to “drink, eat and drink some more…and in between support our film.” But the normally exquisite Fan Bingbing lost some fan support with makeup that looked troweled on.
Rating: Three Martinis
EAT AND DANCE INDIAN
Scents of curry and a pulsating Bollywood beat drew the crowds toward L'Annex Beach. There was a mob scene at the door where an elephant statue and saffron silk canopy awaited guests at the Eat and Dance Indian party. The Indian mood was enhanced with gifts of bangles, bindis and rajasthani silk scarves for party-goers. The scarves came in handy in the chill of the moonlit night. Inside the venue, colorful tents added a festive ambiance, with Bollywood and tourism images projected on large screens flanked the DJ's booth. The party was hosted by the Indian Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and Mininstry of Tourism.
Attendees: There was a good turnout of noted Indian directors -- Vidhu Vinod Chopra with his journalist wife Anu, Anurag Kashyap, Anusha Rizvi, Ashutosh Gowarikar, Bobby and Varsha Bedi and Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra. South African producers Anant and Sanjeev Singh with their respective spouses Vanashree and Chandra were on hand, as was Jeff Berg, looking for his client Chopra. Executives and buyers from India, Russia and Italy rounded off the crowd.
Cuisine: Chef Arvind Rai of Delhi's Ashoka Hotel flew in with his bag of spices to create an elaborate buffet of Mughlai curries and Frontier kebabs, such as murgh hazari [chicken], boti barra [lamb] and noor-e-mahi [fish]. The highlight was the dumba biryani [whole roasted lamb with saffron rice] cooked on a giant paella-style pan. Dessert included trays of assorted mithai [Indian sweets] and fresh fruit. There was also plenty of Piper Heidsick champagne, Provencal wines, scotch and vodka.
Highlights/Lowlights: Great gifts, sumptuous food and good music. But lack of proper glassware and dirty dishes took away some of the glamor from the otherwise festive evening. And no Bollywood stars means an otherwise high-spirited affair loses half a martini glass.
Rating: 3.5 Martinis.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
RED GRANITE PARTY
Financing group Red Granite might be brand new to the film world but its Saturday bash showed that new school knows how to do old school. The lavish food, free flowing booze, an eye-popping fireworks display and an explosive live set from Kanye West featuring a duet with Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx on the hit "Gold Digger" had the Carlton beach jumping. Guests entered through a gauntlet of young ladies dressed in black sheer outfits so snug they left little to the imagination before being greeted with tables of food, various bars and the anticipation of live sets from first Pharrell Williams and then West.
Attendees: Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, shark attack survivor and Soul Surfer Bethany Hamilton and The Hangover star Bradley Cooper were some of the brightest stars circling the Red Granite planet. Executive muscle included ex-Essential Entertainment and Miramax International EVP Jere Hausfater, Nu Image boss Avi Lerner, Alliance Films CEO Victor Loewy and Concorde Filmverleih managing director Markus Zimmer.
Cuisine: Red Granite paid for some serious food with tables of pasta, sushi, canapés and pretty miniature eclairs and such for those with a sweet tooth. Liquor of all forms flowed smoothly although at one of the bar’s one attendee ended up drinking gin and tonic, because they ran out of vodka.
Highlights/Lowlights: When Kanye was joined on stage by Foxx, even the most emotionally vulnerable industry vets were bouncing. But Red Granite loses half a martini for having not just one but two VIP areas which included the only places to sit down.
Rating: 4.5 Martinis.
Celebrating 10 years of Trophée Chopard, Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele, co-president of Chopard hosted a classy soiree at Hotel Martinez. The 30-minute award ceremony was followed by a cocktail dinner in the swanky Chopard Lounge on the hotel’s 7th floor.
Jury president Robert De Niro presented the 2011 Trophy to emerging actors Astrid Bergès-Frisbey and Niels Schneider. Frisbey, who is co-starring in the current Pirates of the Caribbean was overwhlemed and teary-eyed as she accepted the award from De Niro. The young actors recieved an exquisitely crafted trophy designed by Chopard’s master jewelers. [Past recipients include Marion Cotillard, Diane Kruger, Audrey Tatou, Hayden Christensen, Gael Garcia Bernal, Tang Wei and Lea Seydoux.] De Niro recalled the first award he received for Mean Streets. However, he added “I’ve given a lot of stuff to University of Texas.” In spite of his busy schedule he joined the upstairs party creating a mob scene in the hotel’s lobby as he made his way to the elevator. De Niro stayed at the party for 30 minutes. Looking glamorous in a yellow Pucci chiffon gown, Gruosi-Scheufele said she’s been asked by many other film festivals for her support. “But I’m married to Cannes,” she mused.
Attendees: De Niro, Jude Law, Gilles Jacob, Thierry Fremaux, Marisa Berenson, Ludivine Sagnier, Claude LeLouch and Czech model Karolina Kurkova in a stunning black Chanel dress.
Cuisine: A continuous flow of hors d’oeuvres — salmon, shrimp, artichokes wrapped in prosciuto, Asian rolls, sliders, gazpacho and guacamole served in shot glasses. The piece de resistance? Killer risottto with asparagus and mushrooms, followed by trays of delectable French pastries. Plenty of Boizel pink champagne, full bar and the special Chopard cocktail: vodka, coconut cream, white chocolate, almond syrup and lime.
Highlights/Lowlights: The Chopard Lounge on the hotel’s 7th floor was intimate, yet spacious. The wrap around terrace offered a stunning view of Cannes harbor and guests who stayed till midnight were treated to the firework display in the distance.
Gorgeous Euro-fashionista crowd, jazz-age music performed by Michael Arenella & His Dreamland Orchestra ( the five-piece New York band was flown in specially for a two-night gig by Chopard).
Rating: 4 Martinis
Friday, May 13
Canal Plus took Cannes partying to new heights at their annual bash atop the cobblestone hill at Le Suquet in an old castle with a magnificent view of the city. Guests piled into the Cannes tourist trains for a ride up the winding streets of Cannes’ “old quarter” to the party held in a clock tower overlooking the town below. DJ Jeremie Khlat kept the massive central dance floor moving all night long as girls dressed in Black Swan-like garb circled the room. Canal Plus’ own, including president of the Canal Plus group Bertrand Meheut and executive vp content and COO Rodolphe Belmer enjoyed a night off from their monopoly of the Cannes media market – the company sent 500 employees to the festival this year and scheduled 350 hours of fest-related programming. The entire Gallic film biz joined the party including stars Jean-Paul Rouve and Frederique Bel, Competition director Radu Mihaileanu, MK2 topper Nathanael Karmitz plus international star Djimon Hounsou in town to promote his upcoming film Special Forces opposite Diane Kruger. Canal Plus’ Head of Cinema Manuel Alduy summed up the evening: “52 handshakes, two reunions, several cool producers, and two black swan dancers.”
Attendees: Canal Plus’ President and COO Bertrand Meheut and Rodolphe Belmer joined the company’s Head of Cinema Manuel Alduy, EVP of International Production and Acquisitions Ron Halpern, the network’s star TV show “Le Grand Journal” presenters Michel Denisot, Ali Baddou, Ariane Massenet, Charlotte Le Bon and Jean-Michel Aphatie, Special Forces stars Raphael Personnaz and Djimon Hounsou, MK2’s Nathanael Karmitz and Charles Gillibert, producer Michael Gentile, talents Frederique Bel, Jean-Paul Rouve, Thierry Fremont, director Radu Mihaileanu plus novelist-turned-director Frederic Beigbeder for a who’s who of Gallic film biz talent and execs.
Cuisine: Chefs lined the perimeter of the vast outdoor space and cooked up piping hot mushroom risotto, Thai shrimp and grilled meats before guests finished off the night on a sweet note with exotic fruits like dragonfruit, mango and pineapple. Guests sipped champagne and fruity cocktails.
Highlights/Lowlights: The outdoor gala was decorated with chandeliers hanging from the trees and, around midnight, a girl in a white dress dropped from a tree on a swing and tossed flowers on guests. / The only drawback was the wait for the trains to return to take tired guests back to the bottom of the hill to the Croisette.
Rating: 4 Martini glasses
The party for Peter Ho-sun Chan’s martial arts film noir Wu Xia got a few things right: a gorgeous location on the Baoli Beach, a laidback music selection of Sergio-Leone inflected Asian pop and no VIP section to divide the worthy from the plebs. But a door policy apparently cribbed from China’s film import law meant the spacious spot remained half empty. And the fete, which kicked off at 10:30, had barely begun before it was winding down, as guests streamed out to catch the film’s midnight screening at the Palais.
Attendees: Wu Xia helmer Peter Ho-Sun Chan and stars Donnie Yen, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Tang Wei, Li Xiao Ran and Kara Hui brought the glam while Weinstein Co. topper Harvey Weinstein and COO David Glassner provided the business angle.
Cuisine: Tiny canapés that barely kept hunger at bay — maybe this how Tang Wei keeps her figure – were sweetened by plates of scrumptious chocolates and dipped orange slices.
Highlights/Lowlights: The Wu Xia bash had a particularly high totty level — did Harvey have a hand in picking the guest list? — but Chinese super star Fan Bing Bing knocked em all dead in a pink-to-white ombre dress that caused whiplash in attendees of both genders. / The lounge area, while open to all, became so packed that most were left standing outside peering through the plastic windows for a glimpse of the film’s stars. It was like a peep show without the sex … and with Harvey Weinstein.
Rating: 2.5 Martinis