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The most glamourous and powerful players at the festival flock to the Hotel Majestic Barriere to gossip, party and close deals over drinks at the always-packed Fouquet’s brasserie. Harvey Weinstein famously holds his annual reception for more than 300 international distributors, media members and company partners at the hotel’s Salle Croisette; last year he unveiled the trailer for Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight.
But it’s farther back in the 90-year-old Belle Epoque palace where even more secret handshakes happen. The Cinematheque Diane, a state-of-the-art screening room that opened in 2011, bills itself on the hotel’s website as a place where guests can borrow DVDs. But for 12 days in May it becomes an ultra-private hotspot where the likes of Weinstein and director Luc Besson are rumored to hold screenings for only their innermost circles.?
It’s a destination so exclusive, in fact, that dozens of Cannes regulars contacted by THR knew nothing of its existence. “The Majestic? Must be new. Never, and I have been going forever and seen millions of movies in Cannes and the market,” says Ryan Werner, senior executive at Cinetic Media. PR maven and Cannes mainstay Liz Miller likewise was in the dark. “I wonder if it is reserved for hotel guests?”
The 90-year-old Belle Epoque hotel opened its luxe, state-of-the-art theater in 2011.
Designed by Chantal Peyrat, the French interior decorator who has a long history with Majestic owner Barriere hotels, the 35-seat Cinematheque Diane features massive velvet wing chairs (with individual leather ottomans), each row outfitted with slightly taller legs than the one before so no view is obstructed. The central armchair, covered in gilded leather, is reserved for the guest of honor, and the custom carpet is decorated with film titles and quotes from Palme d’Or winners spanning 1946 to 2011.
“This cinema is unique because of the location,” says hotel general manager Pierre-Louis Renou. “This is the only one located on the Croisette, where the guests can benefit from high-tech projection equipment with the possibility of 3D sessions” — with 3D glasses offered up on a silver platter by a tuxedo-clad butler.
The room is open to anyone to rent (at 4,500 euros, or about $5,000 for two hours), but you’ll likely need an inside connection at the hotel to reserve it during peak festival dates. No popcorn or soda allowed, but for an extra 28 euros per person (about $1,100 for a full house), guests are, bien sur, permitted to sip champagne.
Jake Gyllenhaal, a 2015 festival juror, stepped out on the night of the Carol premiere.?
Kristen Stewart left the hotel to attend the 2014 red-carpet screening of Cannes competition film Clouds of Sils Maria, for which she later won a Cesar Award (the first-ever American actress to win the French equivalent of the Oscar).?
Doctor Zhivago actress Geraldine Chaplin posed? for photographers during the 1966 festival; the film didn’t win the Palme d’Or but was nominated for 10 Oscars and won five.
This story first appeared in the May 13 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
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