Fundraiser for amfAR


The event at Le Moulin de Mougins drew enough bold-faced names to fill a rack of tabloids. After a cocktail reception on the grounds of the picturesque restaurant, master of ceremonies Harvey Weinstein summoned the "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" crowd to a tented area for a sit-down dinner and auction that exceeded even the most optimistic expectations by raising more than $7 million for AIDS research. Sharon Stone coaxed the invitees to reach deep into their pockets to fulfill their champagne wishes and caviar dreams. One bidder enjoyed a kiss from George Clooney after placing a winning bid for an exotic vacation. "I'm George's pimp," Stone joked. Revelers including ICM's Jeff Berg chipped in $10,000 apiece to bring Kylie Minogue to the stage for an impromptu rendition of "Can't Get You Out of My Head," which brought such celebs as Robert Rodriguez, Rose McGowan and Eva Mendes to their feet.

Attendees: The annual who's who of the Cannes circuit converged en masse. Clooney joined "Ocean's Thirteen" mates including Matt Damon, Don Cheadle and Steven Soderbergh to lend their support to the cause. Naomi Campbell, Diego Luna, Mischa Barton, Michelle Rodriguez, Ivana Trump, Universal Pictures' Jason Resnick and Relativity Media's Ryan Kavanaugh were among those on the guest list.

Cuisine: Hors d'ouvres proved more satisfying than the painfully slow, way-too-small three-course meal, which concluded with a peach melba confection. Still, it's hard to plunk down $300,000 for a sexy Sophie Marceau photo with a mouthful of food.

Highlights/lowlights: Dita Von Tesse's striptease atop a giant MAC lipstick titillated the raucous crowd. But director-painter Julian Schnabel's ungracious behavior sent tongues wagging when he chastised attendees for not understanding the value of a piece of his up-for-auction art. "My paintings sell for $400,000," he said before storming off the stage. Still, he grabbed a microphone from the audience in an effort to explain why his art should command a higher bid. "Unlike the other things here, this is actually worth something," Schnabel said. "This isn't some kind of party favor."

Rating: 3/5

"Go Go Tales"/Wild Bunch

Wild Bunch got down and dirty at Villa Babylone for its fete to celebrate the premiere of Abel Ferrera's "Go Go Tales." The party appealed to the base instincts, ranging from the childish (bouncy castles) to adults only (topless, G-stringed lap dances, gyrating pole dancers and a sudsy pool where attendees could "fish for bimbos"). Even the music hit the lowest common denominator, with a pounding bass irresistibly driving the dancing hordes. The debauchery was contrasted with the majestic elegance of the villa's gardens.

Attendees: Wild Bunch posse and their international associates. Any star power was upstaged by the pole dancers.

Cuisine: Given the 1 a.m. start, food would have only slowed the rhythm of the event. Alcohol flowed generously into tiny plastic cups.

Highlights/lowlights: As the sun came up, partygoers continued their revelry, oblivious to the 9 a.m. appointment. Voyeuristic pleasures occasionally brought the packed dance floor to a standstill as people gawked at the barely dressed beauties.

Rating: 4.5/5

"The Edge of Heaven" party

Appropriately, the party at Villa Monroe for Fatih Akin's In Competition entry "The Edge of Heaven" followed the same dramatic arc as the film: starting slow but gaining strength as the night wore on. The classy European setting in the hills above Cannes had its Eastern counterpoint with the music, which was a mix of Mid-Eastern dance tunes.

Attendees: A very German crowd, with A-list Teutonic execs including X Filme head Stefan Ardnt, Atlas Film managing director Stefan Menz and German Films boss Christian Dorsch. Akin and the cast bopped all night.

Cuisine: Drinks ran the gamut from champagne to beer and Red Bull. Food was hard to come by. Plates of tasty samosas would suddenly appear and be devoured, but a buffet table was nowhere to be seen.

Highlights/lowlights: The DJ, flanked by the wildly dancing "Heaven" stars Patrycia Ziolkowska and Nursel Koese, asked if anyone in the crowd could pass him a spliff. Nobel Prize-winning author and Cannes jury member Orhan Pamuk wandered the party with no one to talk to.

Rating: 3.5/5

Champions League Final party
British PR agency DDA, led by the efforts of Lawrence Atkinson, pulled off a coup for hacks wanting a reasonably safe haven to watch the European cup final played out between England's Liverpool and Italy's AC Milan. Atkinson persuaded the American Pavilion masters to grab a feed from U.K. satcaster British Sky Broadcasting to beam the game into the only venue in Cannes whose proprietors probably didn't "get" soccer. (That's not football; where are the pads and helmets?)

Attendees: The star of the show was British actor and lifelong Liverpool fan Malcolm McDowell, who shouted, cajoled and gesticulated as his watched his team dominate the game before losing 2-1.

Cuisine: Potato chips and a pay bar for beer and wine. Watching sports, you see, doesn't need catering.

Highlights/lowlights: Lowlight was the Italian favorites resorting to type and falling around to waste time as Liverpool made a last-ditch attempt to take the game to extra time. And then the ref cut the game short because he looked a bit tired. Oh, and there are no toilets on the premises.

Rating: 1/2 of the European Cup