'Flight of the Red Balloon' party

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The fete for Un Certain Regard opener "The Flight of the Red Balloon" was missing helmer Hou Hsiao Hsien and star Juliette Binoche, who chose to head home after dinner at the 3.14. Industry members and a select few famous French faces sipped Chivas Regal, Beefeater dry gin, champagne and Wyborowa vodka at the bash thrown by Margo Films, Les Films du Lendemain, Films Distribution and the Ile de France Film Commission. Though stomachs grumbled with no food in sight, guests enjoyed mellow music and a beachfront view at the swank 3.14 Baron beach.

Attendees: Director Pascale Ferran, Cesar winner for "Lady Chatterley," looked striking. Gallic actress Aissa Maiga floated about the beachside space with Ile de France Film Commission topper Olivier Rene-Veillon and a potpourri of international industry execs.

Cuisine: None!

Highlights/lowlights: With so many other events going on, star sightings were scarce, and the party became a sort of transition stopover for many on their way from the Marche du Film fete and to other events. And with not even minuscule munchies on offer, guests seemed ready to take flight.

Rating: 2/5


Marche du Film party
The party to open the Marche du Film saw sharp-dressed hommes and bare-shouldered femmes spread up from the Majestic Beach bar out over the shimmering bay and up onto the pier -- the perfect vantage point from which to look back at the sparkling Cannes shoreline and reflect on 60 years of the grand dame of all film festivals. There were the Carlton cupolas, beacons from a simpler time; there was the Plage, packed with moviegoers planted in the sand staring up at the stars on the big screen and the stars in the sky; laughter wafted out of warm yellow lights on the private yachts bobbing in the blackness. Ragtime jazz beckoned mingling drinkers back to the bar for another champagne, where most seemed to agree they felt they were in good company, the company of a festival that wears its age well.

Attendees: Marche director Jerome Paillard was joined at his annual festivities by Adriana Chiesa, president of Adriana Chiesa Enterprises of Italy, Pascal Diot, president of Onoma of France, Cedric Jeanson of U.S. company Filmbox, Martin Katz, of U.K. financial advisory Movieventures, Claudia Landsberger, managing director of Holland Film, Beki Probst, director of the European Film Market at Berlin, Thorsten Schaumann, the head of Bavaria Film International, Pilar Torre, director of Spanish film promotion at ICAA, the ministry of culture for Spain, Dirk Schuerhoff managing director of Germany's Beta Cinema, and Eva Zaoralova, artistic director of Czechoslovakia's Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.

Cuisine: After a long day running laps on the Croisette, there's no more beautiful sight than free-flowing champagne and a toqued team of servers at a bank of ice-block bowls heaped with fresh caviar and others heaped with cream, hardboiled egg, parsley and all the rest of your caviar accoutrements. The only disappointment were the plates, which were too small to fit more than four mini blinis heaped high with the delicacy. Passed hors d'oeuvres included tender breaded and delicately fried shrimp and savory meatballs. Crepes heaped with banana and chocolate made for a nice finish.

Highlights/lowlights: For all the bare-shouldered femmes freezing in the offshore breeze on the pier, the tented beach bar was a warm welcome but the journey there proved perilous for some nude ankles, twisted as spike heels jammed and stuck in gaps in the planked walkway. As the party evolved, so did the music, moving into a great bouncy hipster DJ set.


"Water Lilies" afterparty

First-time director Celine Sciamma celebrated a warm reception to her first feature film screened in Un Certain Regard category with live music, drinks and the creme de la creme of the hipster chic French scene. Para One, straight from the film's soundtrack, provided the music for the early morning bash at the Club Le Baron Hotel 3.14 as guests left the theater with images of synchronized swimming scenes as they headed for some synchronized -- and unsynchronized -- dancing courtesy of Les Productions Balthazar, Haut et Court and Films Distribution.

Attendees: Films Distribution's Francois Yon worked the room alongside Sciamma and talent, with the ubiquitous Harvey Weinstein making a late-night appearance. Gallic actor Melvil Poupaud, star of "Un Homme Perdu," which is screening in the Directors' Fortnight, and his producer, MK2's Nathanael Karmitz, also swam into the party.

Cuisine: None!

Highlights/lowlights: The film's afterparty turned into a smoky, crowded, elbow-rubbing bash as habitues of Paris' chic nightclub Le Baron headed to the 3.14 for a romp on the Riviera.

Rating: 3/5


Focus Features party
Thursday's party in front of the Carlton Hotel jetty drew a cavalcade of young agents sporting designer sunglasses and casually dressed Universal Pictures and Focus Features executives discussing potential sales and acquisitions. Buyers and sellers worked the outdoor space against the backdrop of a spectacular Mediterranean sunset. By 8 p.m., the business-as-usual crowd had moved on to other galas.

Attendees: 20th Century Fox International executive Christian Grass got to know his new Universal colleagues (he will take the reins of Universal's new production arm in October), while Focus topper and producer James Schamus (donning a spiffy bow tie) talked about his most recent collaboration with director Ang Lee. Rounding out the Grill on the Alley crowd was Universal's Michael Linde, WMA's Cassian Elwes and Rena Ronson, Endeavor's Graham Taylor and Bryan Besser, UTA's Bec Smith and IFDC president Jerome Bliah.

Cuisine: Wine, booze and Perrier flowed, while guests noshed on teeny hors d'oeuvres and finger sandwiches (sans crust, natch)

Highlights/lowlights: Leaving. With the exception of the sunset, you've been there, done that plenty back in Los Angeles.

Rating: 1/5
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