Cannes Party Lines

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Monday, May 18

German Films
Location: Carlton Beach
Rating: 2 martinis

Normally big spenders on the Cannes party front, German Films deliberately lowered expectations ahead of this year's bash. The invite blamed budget cuts for the decision to party on the beach, instead of in the group's usual villa, and amenities were as sparse as a Chemnitz housing block.

Attendees: The entire German film industry, more or less. From TMG mogul Herbert Kloiber to Senator Film head Helge Sasse to uber producers Stefan Ardnt and Martin Moszkowicz.

Cuisine: German Films' usual lavish spreads were the first to get the chop. Hungry pundits were left with soon-emptied bowls of olives, nuts and potato chips. But the bean counters drew the line at the booze, which flowed freely throughout the night.

Highlights/lowlights: A long, pseudo-patriotic opening speech by Cultural minister Bernd Neumann -- filled with three year plans and talk of 'hoisting the flag for German cinema" -- evoked memories of a GDR party rally. But the beach front location at least meant you didn't have to wait for those damn buses to get home.
-- Scott Roxborough

BBC Films cocktails
Location: 3.14 Beach
Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5 martinis

Get some food before it runs out was the order of the day, delivered with a wink and a knowing smile by one of the hosts on arrival. Once again, BBC Films delivered a cocktail party which felt like a must for anyone capable of speaking English. Awash with wine and beer and delicious ham and cheese pasties and prawns wrapped in deep fried stringy pastry, attendees ticked each other the handshake and how are you list. Sort of like speed dating crossed with the largest wedding ever. Film London also joined BBC Films with the party this year.

Attendees: Anglophiles and anglophones alike always use the Monday evening bash as a drop in to meet and greet the great and the good. Miramax Films chief Daniel Battsek rubbed shoulders with former BBC Films chief David Thompson, current BBC chiefs Jane Wright and Christine Langan while Universal Pictures International president David Kosse and Ealing Studios chief Barnaby Thompson held sway.

Cuisine: This is the cocktail party where food takes second billing to drinking, a serious British pastime. But this year the finger food was of a high standard and did provide attendees with the opportunity to take a bite without fear of a misplaced stain down the front of their shirts.

Highlights/lowlights: The highlight of this party was the fact there was one. A real triumph of keeping calm and carrying on, a Brit mantra from WW2, the BBC and Film London made the right move to continue in its tradition to keep flag flying for polite cocktailing. The lowlight was probably the fact that, as with all good weddings, it gets late very quickly and it's all over before it's begun.
-- Stuart Kemp

42 Below's OneDreamRush Party
Location: Chacha Beach
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 martinis

The promise of a party open until 4:30 a.m. kept partygoers streaming in until a late hour even by Croisette standards. That was good for buzz -- but not so great if you were trying to navigate the narrow beach at the back of the venue or grab a drink at the bar, where lines often went three deep. But the energetic, international crowd meant the crowds were dancing and the party pulsating in one of the better displays of what the fest has to offer.

Attendees: Asia Argento, who hosted the event, and famous siblings Julian and Sean Lennon (the latter performed a short set).

Cuisine: Shot-glasses of a thick, cold gazpacho were a welcome item on a warm night in a steamy venue, but food was generally scarce past midnight, and even the Cannes standards -- eclairs, torts and other dessert items -- were hard to find.

Highlights/lowlights: The crowds in the popular areas -- near the bar and out back by the beach -- made it difficult to move without risking a spilled drink. But the venue's well-placed side rooms offered a potential safety valve, including one room where inebritated partygoes could scribble messages in magic marker on the side wall./The abrupt end -- the party shut down at 3 a.m., earlier than billed -- cast a damper, and the deejay didn't always keep the music running smoothly, switching tunes as often as every 10 seconds (and points off for playing Tiffany), but the resourceful and large crowd managed to keep the dancing and partying going even over the unwelcome strains. They were definitely not alone now.
-- Steven Zeitchik

Trophee Chopard

Location: Baoli, Port Pierre Canto
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 martinis

The pulsating rock beat spun by DJ Stephane Pompougnac welcomed the beautiful crowd Monday as Chopard co-president Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele entertained her Euro-riche friends, which included no shortage of women in dressed-to-kill Chopard gowns, at the plush Baoli club. Buckets of wine and champagne were stationed around the club, from the outdoor palm tree-accented VIP section to the indoor area for regular folks, while a spacious seating area of banquets created a relaxed ambiance and allowed guests to watch the TV monitors showing the red-carpet arrivals. Cigar girls circulated in the outdoor lounge.

Attendees: Hilary Swank, Rachel Weisz, Isabel Huppert, Marion Cottilard, Asia Argento, dancer Eleanora Abbagnato, Evangeline Lilly, Harvey Weinstein, Georgina Chapman, Gilles Jacob and Chopard ambassadress Eva Herzigova, as well as this year's Trophee Chopard winners Leas Seydoux and David Kross.

Cuisine: If you were on a diet (to slip into those figure-hugging gowns) this was a god place to be. Although there was plenty of Moet and Boizel champagne and Provencal wine, food was limited. Mini canapes were served at the tables and plates of pasta appeared about 1 a.m.

Highlights/lowlights: A host of celebrities, the beautiful crowd and the Chopard fashion show was a feast for the eyes. A constant flow of champagne was provided at your tables. Gift bags from El Raphael containing beauty cream and a skin care gift certificate. However, the non-stop pounding music and lack of food prompted many to depart before the gift bags and pasta plates arrived.
-- Mira Advani

Sunday, May 17


Morgan Creek Brunch
Location: Moulin de Mougin
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 martinis

A Cannes tradition, the annual brunch at the comfortably inviting Moulin de Mougin is like a sunny morning restorative after several days bunkered in the Marche, rushing to the red carpet, or ping-ponging from afterparty to afterparty. James Robinson, as usual, played the genial host, as he welcomed guests to the Morgan Creek International event spread out across the restaurant's shady patios where bankers, international distributors and assorted film folk happily gathered for an upscale nosh.

Attendees: The Robinson brothers, David and Brian, circulated while bankers like Salem Partners' Jim Mullany and Aramid's Premila Hoon mingled with such distributors as GAGA America CEO Kiyoshi Watanabe, Gulf Film's Salim Ramia, Nordisk Film CEO Allan Hansen and Svensk Filmindustri's Rasmus Ramstad. Morgan Creek's new co-chairman/COO Rick Nicita chatted with Jim Sheridan, who's directing the company's upcoming thiller "Dream House," as well as producers Paula Wagner and Irwin Winkler. Pinema's Parmir Demirtas brought along Abdurrahman Celik, director general of Turkey's Minstry of Culture and Tourism, and Engin Yigitgil, president of the board of trustees of the Turkish Foundation of Cinema and Audivisual Culture. Having slept in, Antoine Fuqua, who'll direct the crime film "Scarpa," arrived just in the nick of time to savor the fare.

Cuisine: Breakfast doesn't get much better: Juices from orange to celery, bacon, sausage, assorted salmons and cheeses, made-to-order omelettes, fruit tarts for desert. And lots of bracingly dark coffee to wash it down.

Highlights/lowlights: A relaxed, laid-back setting -- a relief after the crowded Croisette -- made for a break from the nonstop jostle of the festival. The only downside was that the morning idyll only last a few hours -- and then it's back to town to plunge once again into the grind.
-- Gregg Kilday

'Middle Men'
Location: ChaCha Beach Club
Rating: 4 out of 5 martinis

These aren't the type of "Middle Men" you want to cut out. Ahead of Cannes, there was much talk of the ChaCha Beach being this year's hot destination. That was perhaps as much to do with it being one of the few fresh venue operators for this year's cash-strapped party circuit as much as anything else. But the venue is certainly proving to be a formidable place with ambiance, dancing and drinks all flowing across the sizable space. Good, well-organized and, yes, friendly door people and an absence of pushy security thugs all gave the party an air of cool nonchalance.

Attendees: Cast members Giovanni Ribisi, Kevin Pollak and Laura Ramsey could be spotted alongside producer Jason Shuman and the film's helmer, George Gallo.

Cuisine: All the chat about cutbacks and scrimping on parties didn't reach the ears of the organizers of this beachside soiree. Finger food delicacies spread across several white-cloaked trestle tables -- complete with a seared foie gras station -- let attendees pick and choose their faves, while the well-situated bar provided a place to make short work of a thirst.

Highlights/lowlights: It was a return to old Cannes party values with the VIP area barely used as wannabes and party people mixed freely with the glitteratti at the party. But without a shadow of a doubt, the highlight of the evening had to be the decision by party organizers to reopen the bar after it temporarily shut down because the shindig was meant to end at 1 p.m. It was still rocking an hour and a half later. That meant that the only lowlight was the brief gloom that descended for the 10 minutes between shutting down and reopening.
-- Stuart Kemp

Anvil Party
Location: Morrison's Pub
Rating: 3 guitars

It was dark, hot and sweaty. And that was just the venue. Cult Canuck rock band Anvil served up an irony-free dose of hair metal at Sunday night's pub bash to celebrate the Works' market debut of Sundance smash doc "Anvil! The Story of Anvil." The antithesis of Cannes' snobby, champagne-fluted beach fetes, the private concert featured enough head banging, devil horn waving and mile-a-minute guitar solos to put a smile on even the most cynical market slave. So drop those canapes, dude, and turn it up to 11.

Attendees: Tilda Swinton outed herself as an Anvil fan, posing with band members Robb Reiner, Glenn Five and Steve "Lips" Kudlow.

Cuisine: Come on! Are you here to eat or are you here to rock?

Highlights/lowlights: The endless Anvil encores including a tribute to Godzilla nemesis Mothra that would have made Spinal Tap proud. Like a misspent youth, the party was over far too quickly.
-- Scott Roxborough

Saturday, May 16

India Party
Location: Le Grand Jardin, Ile St. Marguerite
Rating: 3 out of 5 martinis

The Bollywood-style bash was co-hosted by Dr. Vijay Mallya, chairman of UB Group and the Confederation of Indian Industries. Guests were ferried over to the island, where a fleet of SUVs whisked them away to Mallya's grand villa-turned-fairyland. IIluminated with candles, the winding pathways were lined with fresh rose petals. Looking princely in a black Nehru jacket and diamond-studded earrings, Mallya worked the crowd in his usual elegant manner. Bollywood music filled the cool night air as a troupe of six dancers performed classic Kathak dance poolside and against the dramatic backdrop of the island's old watchtower. And there were roses, roses everywhere, floating in the pool, cascading from Italian urns and nestled in large round table centerpieces.

Attendees: Bollywood heartthrob Hritik Roshan stopped by briefly and actress Manisha Koirala. Among the industry types -- Ashok Amritraj, Bobby Bedi, Subash Ghai and Jag Mundhra, known as the Roger Corman of India.

Cuisine: Juggling bartenders, and UB-owned champagne, Loire wines and "Pinky" vodka. A lavish buffet laden with rice pilaf, grilled shrimp, smoked salmon, prosciutto, quiches, baskets of breads, crudite and more.

Highlights/lowlights: Dramatic setting, enjoyable, easy ride to the island and goodie bags containing pashmina scarves and orchid garlands./Way low on star-wattage and ... what? No dessert at an Indian party?
-- Mira Advani



Zentropa Drinks
Location: Zentropa Villa
Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5 martinis

Zentropa's poolside party for producers and distribs had the casual drop-in air of a mixer for suburban swingers, though sadly without the jangle of car keys in ash trays. But playboy bunny outfits for the serving staff was a nice '70s touch.

Attendees: A selected smattering of Euro art house distribs and acquisitions execs, including Volker Kronz of Germany's MFA Licensing, Pim Hermeling of Wild Bunch Benelux and ZDF Enterprises acquisitions director Margrit Staerk.

Cuisine: Finger food to make a Redbook housewife proud. The bunnies kept the crab-smeared sandwiches, fresh veg and thick chunks of skewered meat rolling though, ensuring no one went home hungry. This being a Zentropa bash, alcohol was never an issue.

Highlights/lowlights: Zentropa topper Peter Aalbaek Jensen acting as bartender and Lars von Trier's barefooted and PJ-ed son wandering in and out added to the house party feel./Lowlight was a backed-up toilet that left several guests pinch-kneed and speculatively eying the villa's spreading oaks.
-- Scott Roxborough

Millennium Party
Location: ChaCha Beach Club
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 martinis

The Nordic gloom pervading the "Millennium" Swedish crime trilogy was nowhere to be seen at the late-night beach bash in honor of the first film in the series, "The Girl in the Dragon Tattoo," hosted by Marathon Group and their Scandi Yellow Bird subsidiary. A high-end classy affair, the fete featured just the right mix of casual chill and bump-and-grind. The DJ, thankfully old enough to remember the good stuff from the '80s, kept the dance floor packed but spill-off rooms provided respite for revelers wanting to escape the sweaty groove.

Attendees: Marathon flew in its Yellow Bird execs and talent from the film, including director Niels Arden Oplev, producer Soren Staermose and actress Noomi Rapace, who came suitably goth-attired.

Cuisine: Nibbles. Spoonfuls of chopped veggies and shot glasses of cuscus. Just enough to hold off the munchies.

Highlights/lowlights: Singer Yaz got the party started, marching on to the dance floor and delivering a smooth and sexy performance of Arabic-flavored hip hop electronica. Attired in fishnet and fetish-inducing platform heels, she straddled her mike stand and singly-handedly raised the room temperature to, well, steamy./The party's only real off-note came when the otherwise excellent DJ stopped the record of the Human League's "Don't You Want Me," hoping for a crowd chant of the chorus. He got painful silence.
-- Scott Roxborough

Friday, May 15

Canal Plus party
Location: Villa Domergue
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 martinis

French pay TV group Canal Plus, a ubiquitous presence in Cannes as usual, held their annual soiree at the Villa Domergue on Friday night. After a 20-minute ride in a shuttle, guests walked up to the picturesque spot where the Canal Plus family extended its arms to an almost 100% Gallic crowd of celebs, film execs and the network's own on-air personalities.

The villa, home to the famous Festival de Cannes official jury deliberations, kept its doors closed, but the vast property, though crowded, left elbow room for all on the high-reaching cobblestone staircase outside. A "blast from the past" musical selection kept energetic guests moving on the dance floor, though the fete was more a gigantic business meeting for the French film biz. Big and small screens collided as Canal Plus' famous faces and behind-the-scenes crew joined A (and B) list national talent for what proved to be the tres chic place to be of the evening.

Attendees: Canal Plus topper Rodolphe Belmer joined actor-turned-director Guillaume Canet ("Tell No One"), actor Jean-Paul Rouve, actress Frederique Bel and Festival de Cannes Master of Ceremonies Edouard Baer. Israeli actress-director Ronit Elkabetz made an appearance, as did EuropaCorp. superproducer Luc Besson, Studiocanal's COO Camille Trumer, Pathe's Thomas Langmann and MK2 topper Nathanael Karmitz. TV personalities included "Le Grand Journal" host Michel Denisot and his co-hosts, plus best-selling author-turned-media powerhouse Frederic Beigbeder and fellow Canal Plus TV host Thierry Ardisson.

Cuisine: Canal Plus offered small screen fans with big appetites ample fare throughout the night, with giant bowls of risotto, sliced meat or vegetable kebabs on a barbecue preceding giant bowls of fruit and mini chocolates floating around on trays. A watermelon juice / vodka cocktail was a refreshing favorite, complementing the continually overflowing bar of champagne, cocktails and juices.

Highlights/lowlights: The 20-minute ride to and from the location was indeed a schlep, but shuttles ran efficiently and waiting time was very short. The multilevel cobblestone stairway outside provided a lovely decor, but female guests in heels struggled, and one unfortunate guest had a hard fall at one point, but no life-threatening injuries were reported.
-- Rebecca Leffler

Thursday, May 14

'Tetro' party

Location: ChaCha Beach Club
Rating: 3 out of 5 martinis

The Directors' Fortnight kickoff party hit the ChaCha Beach Club on Thursday night to fete Francis Ford Coppola's "Tetro," which opened the fest sidebar earlier in the evening. Coppola made his way down to the beach, while eager partygoers waited on a long line outside thanks to the strict "No invite. No entry" door policy. The vast ChaCha space wasn't enough for the crowd, which spilled over to the Rado beach next door.

Attendees: Despite a rumored appearance from Sofia Coppola, the younger director was nowhere to be found, though dad made sure to show up for the event alongside his cast. Vincent Gallo also made a cameo, but left before even saying goodbye to Coppola. Fortnight director Olivier Pere joined his friends to celebrate what will be his last year in the position before heading to the Locarno Film Festival as artistic director.

Cuisine: The buffet served mini glasses filled with appetizers -- everything from seafood to rabbit -- and guests were treated to Coppola's own wine, at a table offering samples from the director's vineyard.

Highlights/lowlights: The incredibly strict door policy left non invite-holders outside -- meaning French celebs including Patrick Mille and Amanda Sthers remained stuck at the door as invite-holding journalists and Parisian hipsters sashayed past. The original decor and vast space at the ChaCha, combined with the lovely weather, made for a nice scene despite the brouhaha outside. The well-chosen musical selection put the still-fresh festival faces present in the mood to dance.
-- Rebecca Leffler

IM Global party for 'Bitch Slap'
Location: American Pavillion
Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5 martinis

Cheesily fun scenes from the tongue-in-cheek exploitation pic that this party celebrated played on several screens around this late-night soiree. Unfortunately, fun -- of the cheesy variety or any other -- wasn't much in evidence at this bash, which took place after a buyers screening at the Olympia. The atmosphere was pleasant and you could move around and talk to the crowd -- largely English-speaking industry and filmmaking types -- with relative ease, but there was nothing otherwise remarkable about the gathering. The Pavilion is not prime party real-estate as it is, and as the party wound down, rain started bucketing on festgoers, forcing those on the beach into the sterile confines inside.

Cuisine: None.

Highlights/lowlights: The sight of some of the girls from the movie dressed relatively properly and talking to partygoers may have been nice for those looking for a chance to hobnob with some exploitation stars, but it squandered an opportunity for good ol' fashioned costumed fun. A general air of restraint characterized the party, which had the vibe of a genial but harmless drinks gathering taking place much earlier in the evening. It's a mistake to think that an outrageous movie will yield an outrageous party, but those who attended probably won't make that mistake again.
-- Chad Williams

Wednesday, May 13

Disney/Pixar opening-night party for 'Up'

Location: Carlton Beach
Rating: 3 out of 5 martinis

A dramatic display of balloons hovered high above the dock of Carlton Beach, allowing the party to be spotted from the other end of the Croisette and giving it an otherworldly, almost magical feel. If the props were spot-on, however, the star power was not. Animated movies have a built-in challenge when it comes to celebrities at their parties, but it hasn't always stopped organizers (see: Brad and Angelina at the "Kung Fu Panda" fete last year). Instead, Disney went mainly for a crowd of rank-and-file -- if attractive -- festgoers.

Attendees: Disney bigwigs like Dick Cook, Miramax topper Daniel Battsek, director Pete Docter, Pixar chief creative officer John Lasseter; Elizabeth Banks, Aishwarya Rai, Giovanni Ribisi, Samm Levine, Tilda Swinton

Cuisine: A disappointing supply -- mostly dessert items like ice cream and pastries -- dominated the party, with some real food -- risottos and lamb skewers -- made a late appearance.

Highlights/lowlights: The readily available champagne was a nice touch, but the lack of food for most of the party made those who went to opening-night but not the opening-night dinner unusually hungry (and buzzed) by the time the festivities kicked off at 11 p.m. Still, the soiree had an unusual amount of momentum, continuing until well past 2 a.m. with little sign of letting up, aided by a talented and eclectic-minded deejay. Nice touch: Lasseter, Docter and others involved with the film stuck it out into the late hour (even if they were planted in an artificially roped off VIP area).
-- Steven Zeitchik

Chopard's Belle de Nuit Party
Location: Hotel du Cap, Eden Roc
Rating: 4 out of 5 martinis

Chopard's opening night soiree at the exclusive Eden Roc venue will, for the select group of guests gathered, likely leave a warm glow inside for a while to come. It wasn't just the plush venue, beautiful setting, and even more beautiful people – think the American-Japanese model du jour, Devon Aoki. A certain kind of magic set in, creating a special moment in time, when the local band, The Gypsy Queens, commandeered the room and kicked the night into high gear. Chopard's co-president, Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele, bopped away with total abandon, and her infectious enthusiasm quickly spread throughout the room, until most everyone was dancing to the fabulous sounds of the ecstatic freestyle party band as they whooped and bounced around the space, singing '60's favorites - along with the crowd -- from the Beatles down.

Attendees: Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele, Martin Scorsese, Roman Coppola, Devon Aoki, Alessia Piovan ("Nine"), Emma de Caunes ("Asterix & Obelix"), Alden Ehrenreich ("Tetro").

Cuisine: Nibles – lots of delicate French cakes and canapes, tubes of Chopard-branded Vodka to take home, and pink champagne galore.

Highlights/lowlights: The gorgeous red-suede shoes jigging on the dance floor, as worn by Vogue Italy's stylist; the loud turquoise suit and the pretty faces of the band members; the fun atmosphere created by Gruosi-Scheufele while she partied as if it was 1999; enjoying the Eden Roc in the company of the small and select crowd of not more than 150 people; the endless blue of the Mediterranean stretching beyond the balcony; engaging in quiet conversations with interesting people. But, most of all, what made it a happening event was the feeling of an open, but intimate, private party. The fun-filled antics ending abruptly when the band stopped playing. Guests did stay on the listen to the cool sound of the French actress, Emma de Caunes, who played DJ in a retro 1930's outfit. Some latecomers did provide some subsequent entertainment. Ehrenreich, who plays Bennie in Francis Ford Coppola's drama "Tetro," which opens the Directors' Fortnight tonight proved a last-minute curiosity as he made his mark on the room with his unusual looks and low-key presence.
-- Liza Foreman
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