Cannes Party Lines
Majestic Beach, May 17
A mariachi band, sombreros and two parties going on at the same time could only mean one thing: the three amigos were in town. Of course, by that we mean Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, because the other two, Alfonso Cuaron and Guillermo Del Toro, weren't. But that didn't stop this year's party crown from landing on a "Biutiful" head thanks to a throwback to the old days of sophistication, star power and industry heavyweights.
Attendees: The cast of Inarritu's "Biutiful," led by Javier Bardem and Maricel Alvarez, mixed it up with Penelope Cruz, while the party had a heavy Focus on Universal. Focus Features International chief Alison Thompson, former Universal Pictures president David Linde and Focus Features CEO James Schamus rubbed shoulders with Christian Grass, Universal Pictures International president of international production and acquisitions, Nat Geo movie boss Daniel Battsek and UTA agent Bec Smith.
Cuisine: Clever chocolate coffee desserts, deep fried shrimp and other Majestic (hotel) finger delights paved the way to a tequila bar and long bars dishing out all a boy could ask for. Giant, expensive hanging hams and salamis also tempted early partygoers with the promise of meat to come.
Highlight/lowlights: Penelope Cruz is a highlight in most people's book, male or female. In terms of lowlights, how many times does the industry need to be told that VIP areas at such affairs are so, well, cuatro anos atras.
Rating: 4 out of 5 martinis
Morgan Creek International annual Cannes brunch
Moulin de Mougins, May 16
Rating: 4 out of 5 martinis
If Coca-Cola hadn't already coined the phrase "the pause that refreshes," then Morgan Creek could well adopt it for its annual brunch on the shaded patios of the Moulin de Mougins. Offering a break from the crush of the Croisette, Morgan Creek CEO James G. Robinson, his sons David and Brian, company co-chairman and CEO Rick Nicita and international sales president Daniel Diamond welcomed guests to the casually low-key gathering as, if on cue, the overcast skies gave way to a sun-dappled afternoon. The Morgan Creek crew talked up their completed film "Dream House," directed by Jim Sheridan, and the upcoming sci-fi tale "Passengers," in which Keanu Reeves will star for director Babriele Muccino, while the brunch crowd traded notes.
Attendees: A high-powered crowd of buyers and bankers including Ablo's Andre Boissier, Citibank's Tom Garry, E1 Benelux's Jan Kouwenhoven, E1 Canada's Patrice Theroux, Gaga's Tom Yoda, Gulf Films' Salim Ramia, JP Morgan Chase's David Shaheen, Svensk Filmindustri's Peter Fornstam and Robert Enmark and U.S. Bank's David Henry.
Cuisine: Free-flowing mimosas, made-to-order omelettes (as well as eggs sunny side up for hungry Yanks), crispy bacon, freshy raspberries and tray upon tray of fruit-topped pastries.
Highlights/lowlights: The relaxed atmosphere was so seductive that the only downside to its escape from the Cannes' frenzy is that business inevitably beckoned and with it a return to the Croisette.
-- Gregg Kilday
Vanity Fair/Gucci party
Eden-Roc, May 15
Beautiful people in a beautiful setting, with an exclusive guest list and elegant decor is what the Vanity Fair/Gucci Cannes soiree offers those lucky enough to get inside the Eden-Roc. Beginning at 10:30 p.m., the 400-strong afterparty followed a glitzy dinner at the Du Cap for 150 guests, including this go-round the Queen of Jordan, with select guests trickling through for the afterparty in this stunning venue, with its terrace and romantic view of the coastline, where one can rub shoulders with, this year, celebs from Meg Ryan and Benicio del Toro to Oliver Stone and Joan Collins.
Cuisine: Dinner guests were served asparagus tips, mashed potatos, baked bass, and risotto with truffles and purple artichokes. Afterparty guests nibbled on edible chocolate roses, sushi made by a team of chefs camped out behind the bar at the Eden Roc, mini-burgers and champagne galore.
Attendees: Graydon Carter, Frida Giannini, Catherine Deneuve, Benicio Del Toro, Harvey Weinstein, Oliver Stone, Josh Brolin, Tommy Hilfiger, Meg Ryan, Hal Sadoff, Tim Burton, Joan Collins, Naomi Campbell, Juliette Binoche, Avi Lerner, Tom Rothman, Jim Gianopulos, Daniel Battsek, Melanie Cook.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 martinis
-- Liza Foreman and Elizabeth Guider
Martinez Hotel, Penthouse Suite, May 14
Classy Euroglam to the max is the best description of Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele's parties. The co-president of Chopard, the official red carpet rocks of Cannes, this time hosted what she called an "intimate party" with a few of her beautiful friends -- think gorgeous international models clad in glamorous gowns dripping in diamonds) at a luxurious suite at the Martinez. The celebration was to award Trophee Chopard to this year's winners -- Edward Hogg and Liya Kebede. The presentation was done earlier in the evening and attended by Gilles Jacob and Helen Mirren.
A gorgeous wrap-around terrace appointed in swanky lounge sofas encircled the suite. There was a light chill but pedestal heaters kept the crowd warm. Some women, including Caroline, covered up their revealing gowns with pricy pashminas. The hostess' favorite band, the Gypsy Queens, serenaded guests on the terrace and then set up the band indoors for guests to rock and roll to the music.
Attendees: Helen Mirren with husband Taylor Hackford, Michelle Rodriguez, international models Moran Atlas, Esti Ginsburg and Eva Riccobon.
Cuisine: In addition to the killer risotto served on the terrace, bite-sized passed appetizers of tuna, salmon and petit fours were minimal. How else are the ladies going to slip in to their size 2 gowns? There was plenty of Boizet champagne and Grey Goose vodka.
Highlights/lowlights: The intimate size, the venue and the view from the terrace that offered a spectacular firework display courtesy of the Marche party made up for the minimal food and low star-wattage. And there was plenty of eye candy both for men and women.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 martinis
-- Mira Advani Honeycutt
Marche du Film opening night
Majestic Beach, May 13
Attendees: Festival de Cannes delegate general Thierry Fremaux, Marche du Film topper Jerome Paillard, China Movie Channel vp Jia Qi and Champs Lis International president Michelle Lee all played host at the packed event.
Cuisine: Mini shepherd's pie, crepes, some crazy desserts and the offer of some carved meats played out well alongside a free flowing bar that abruptly ran out of champagne before midnight, something that did not go down very well with late comers who had been doing a bit of private schmoozing elsewhere along the Croisette.
Highlight/lowlights: Cannes needed fireworks after last year's dark skies, and last night's impressive display turned heads and gave attendees a chance to take a breath between pitches. The lowlight had to be the lack of toilet facilities, which would have seen the venue's ambitions as the destination of choice in future years flushed down the loo if anyone could have got to one.
Rating: 3 out of 5 martinis
-- Stuart Kemp
Cate Blanchett (Getty)
Majestic Hotel and Beach; May 12
Men in tights joined women in fancy dresses for the Festival de Cannes' official opening-night soiree. After the opening ceremonies and screening of Ridley Scott's "Robin Hood," VIP guests including Cuba Gooding Jr., Jean-Claude Van Damme and Kristin Scott Thomas joined the Lucien Barriere group's Dominique Desseigne and French TV personality Michel Drucker for a cocktail and late-night snack at the recently renovated Majestic hotel. Jury prez Tim Burton left Universal's tightly guarded VIP area to mingle with the guests. As the cocktail ended, Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett headed down to the Majestic beach to continue the fete at Universal and Technicolor's bash under the rainy skies. International execs like Paramount CEO Andrew Cripps schmoozed with Universal studio reps and Gallic journalists as Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett lay low in a private corner down the stairs before Kate Beckinsale and Benicio Del Toro joined them later in the evening.
Attendees: Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Kate Beckinsale, Benicio Del Toro, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Cuba Gooding Jr., Kristin Scott Thomas.
Cuisine: Chefs offering up made-to-order crepes, shrimp and salmon were scattered around inside the hotel's bar and restaurant area, while guests also had the option of mini dinner rolls, French cheese. Platters of tiny dessert tarts and strawberries provided a sweet end to the evening. Guests drank champagne, champagne and more champagne. Plus, anything from the Majestic's unlimited bar.
Highlights/lowlights: The soiree for the legendary archer aimed high but missed its target. The eclectic crowd at the dinner saw Jean-Claude Van Damme greet Tim Burton as the two unlikely friends enjoyed a long conversation. The rainy weather put a damper on the beachside fete, but guests didn't seem to mind as the after party filled up towards midnight. Universal tried to set the mood with Robin Hood-inspired decor and a man dressed up as Robin Hood. Energy was high, but the soiree stuck to tradition and didn't offer anything worthy of a blockbuster evening.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 martinis
-- Rebecca Leffler