Cannes: Star-Studded Bash Fetes Fest's 70th Anniversary

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Fan Bing Bing, Will Smith and Maren Ade

The gala included speeches from Isabelle Huppert and Guillermo del Toro, and then, later in the night, an intimate mariachi band sing-along.

The Cannes Film Festival celebrated its 70th anniversary in typical Cannes style Tuesday night: with plenty of glamor, drama and many of film's biggest stars.

Tuesday, May 23, was an all-day celebration, starting off with a large anniversary photo featuring many of the actors and filmmakers who've attended the festival over the years. That night, a retrospective event was held at the festival's main theater, the Palais des Festivals de Cannes.

Pierre Lescure, president of the Cannes Film Festival, spoke of the tragic terrorist attack that hit Manchester earlier in the day. "Cinema is with Manchester," he said (the festival had held a moment of silence for the victims earlier Tuesday).

Lescure and Thierry Fremaux led the presentation, which also featured montages of past Cannes films, and words from Cannes staple Isabelle Huppert (returning to this year's fest with Michael Haneke's Happy End) and Mexican director Guillermo del Toro.

Fittingly, del Toro (known for his monster films like Pan's Labyrinth and Hell Boy), spoke of monsters — and politics.

"The monster may be us, not only within us, but existing inside of us," he told the star-studded crowd. He continued on, seeming to be speaking about the political climate in the U.S.: “So now, today, we need to draw our monsters again — to engage the ones that we live with, to find empathy again, to forgive us our imperfections, and rebel against those that tell us that it’s the other that we have to fear, that there is an us and that there is a them, that we need to reject and demonize everything that is different from our own."

"It is not true," he said.

The list of attendees at the event was dizzying, ranging from Palme d'or winners Michael Haneke, Jane Campion, Cristian Mungiu, Ken Loach, Costa-Gavras and Nanni Moretti to jurors Will Smith, Jessica Chastain and Uma Thurman, along with directors Oliver Stone, Nicolas Winding Refn, Bong Joon-ho, Sofia Coppola and George Miller and actors Leonardo DiCaprio, Benicio del Toro, Elle Fanning, Tilda Swinton and Diane Kruger.

After the event, the attendees headed down to the pier for a gala dinner created by chefs Georges Blanc and Bruno Oger.

"I'm having a ball. I want to do this every year," first-time juror Smith told THR as he headed into the event.

Indeed, a ball was had by most that night, especially after dessert when a mariachi band surprised the crowd. Salma Hayek had brought the band in as a gift to Fermaux, and told THR she waited until the end of the night to present it to him, to avoid disturbing the more formal programming.

The crowd that gathered around them to sing the night away included Del Toro, Alejandro G. Inarritu, Diego Luna, Mads Mikkelsen, Gael Garcia Bernal, Isabelle Huppert, Berenice Bejo and Michel Hazanavicius. Fermaux led the festivities that went long into the night, and included a serenade of "Happy Birthday" in Spanish, sung just for the festival itself.

 

 

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