Cannes Buzz

Cannes Buzz

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For twelve days each year Cannes is in the world spotlight, the only global location that matters. Normal life comes to a halt (so does the traffic) as the world’s most glamorous Film Festival kicks off. It’s paparazzi paradise with stars, starlets, bodyguards – Arnold, Kevin Clint, Meg. Sun, sex and plasma- screens-on-sand for the Festival.  

Each night there’s the legendary black tie “Montée des Marches” at the Palais des Festivals. This is the immaculate red-carpet, by invitation only, stairway to heaven, where the 20 films in competition are screened. Movies are on the menu all over and around town. At the Noga Hilton the Quinzaines des Realisateurs feature productions entitled Seducing Doctor Lewis, Osama, Fish Never Sleep and Bent Hamer’s wondrously bizarre Kitchen Stories, a grand moment in cinema burlesque, an amuse bouche before heading off for dinner. “These days, many men have moved into the kitchen. Maybe the last bastion of women is falling”, observes Hamer. “At last a film that tells the truth about what Norwegian men get up to in the kitchen, it’s a cult hit in the making”, says the Guardian film critic. “Everyone is here from everywhere because everyone else is here as well and where else are you going to run into all these people?, asks veteran US critic Kenneth Turan.

So who does what? At Le Majestic, Mira Sorvino absolutely insists on a plateau of fresh cheeses (from Ceneri) in her suite at all times. Kristin Scott-Thomas requests a microwave oven (not take away pizza again Kris!). Chef Bruno Oger heads six kitchens capable of serving 2000 covers. The Majestic complex includes the Cannes version of Paris classic Le Fouquet’s, there are sumptuous private dinners, La Villa de Lys, ze gastronomic canteen, the beach, pool and Oger’s private, off-kitchen, table reserved for the likes of Gerard Depardieu, Dustin Hoffman, Andie McDowell and Isabelle Huppert.

The newly renovated Hotel Martinez, with Givenchy Spa, hosts Catherine Deneuve, decks her eponymous suite with white peonies and Chateldon mineral water. For Gong Li a kitchen is installed, in the corner of her suit; the private chef can then cook a cheap Chinese (only joking). Depardieu needs lots of fluffy bathrobes size XXL and Chateau de Tigne wine, produced by the star in his Anjou vineyards! Christian Willer is executive chef at the Martinez’s La Palme d’Or, probably the most appropriate Festival restaurant, with its black and white photos of stars and dishes named for celebs. David Lynch gets off on Willer’s foie gras au sorbet de roquette so much so that he’s filmed the prepping in the Palme d’Or kitchen and the dish features on Lynch’s website.

At The Carlton Intercontinental, Elton John gets a grand piano in his suite. A notice has gone out to staff not to stock Britney’s mini-bar with Coca-Cola; seems La Spears is under contract to Pepsi! Isabelle Adjani never goes anywhere without her cat, gets off on yellow roses. Kim Bassinger insists on 10 large bottles of Evian, in the bathroom, to wash her hair. Chef des cuisines, Laurent Bunel is responsible for the legendary Carlton “President’s dinner” (Gilles Jacob that is not G. Bush). “In 12 days we get through 600 kg of fish, 300 kg of smoked salmon, 800 kg of langoustine and lobster, 500 kg of beef and lamb, 15kg of caviar, 30 tonnes of vegetables, 300 kg of butter, 300 liters of cream and 5000 bottles of champagne. Expect to find Alain Delon, Bruce Willis, Johnny Depp and Deneuve on the legendary Carlton Beach at lunchtime.

Elizabeth Taylor is schlepped into the Moulins de Mougins, by two burly gorillas, to chair the annual AMFAR Aids Gala. All the stars and then some turn up for Taylor and pay 20,000€-100,000€ for the pleasure of a table spilling over with delicious food created by Roger Vergé. This year a certain Reg Dwight (Elton John) played a few of his hits on a Steinway and they all joined in: Meg, Elle, Liz, Clint, Monica Bellucci, Sting, Trudy and the clan Chaplin.

When all is said and done don’t forget the celebrity jury wearing out their eyeballs in the name of Gilles Jacob and the Festival. The coveted Palme d’Or goes to Elephant, inspired by Michael Moore’s epic Bowling for Colombine. Produced by Gus (My Own Private Idaho) van Sant. Elephant also gets best Director – pity most of us ordinary people (ploucs) voted this years’ Festival an Elephant we’d rather forget!

So that’s all folks; the best kept secret is in the hills above Cannes. Check out and chill out at Le Domaine du Diamant Rose, a Provencal complex of villas with private pools. Your home away from home, a mere limousine hop from the cacophony that is Cannes.

Address Book:
Eden Rock,
boulevard Kennedy, Cap d’Antibes,
T: 04 93 61 39 01

Le Martinez,
 73 La Croisette,
T: 04 92 98 73 00

Carlton Intercontinental,
58 La Croisette,
T:04 93 06 40 06

10 La Croisette,
T: 04 92 98 77 00

Ceneri Cheeses
2 rue Meynardier,
T:04 93 39 63 68

Excellent Luxury Car Rental
Miami, Paris,
66 La Croisette.
T: 04 93 94 67 67

So where’s the action?
Midnight Blues – opens at 20hrs.
10 rue Georges Clemenceau.
T:04 93 39 66 26

Think: Tantra & Harem,
13 & 15 rue du Docteur-Monod,
T:0620 79 46 81

Baoli at Port Canto
50, Bd de la Croisette,
T: 04 93 43 03 43

Mahatma (for open air Indian with attitude)
Hotel Savoy, 5 rue Francois Einesy, Cannes
T: 04 92 99 72 09

Palm Square
1 allée de la Liberté,
T:04 93 06 78 27

A la semaine prochaine!

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Born in Hampton, Middlesex, UK, Margaret Kemp is a lifestyle journalist, based between London, Paris and the world. Intensive cookery courses at The Cordon Bleu, London, a wedding gift from a very astute ex-husband, gave her the base that would take her travelling (leaving the astute one behind) in search of rare food and wine experiences, such as the vineyards of Thailand, 'gator hunting in South Florida, learning to make eye-watering spicy food in Kerala;pasta making in a tiny Tuscany trattoria. She has contributed to The Guardian, The Financial Times Weekend and FT. How To Spend, The Spectator, Condé Nast Traveller, Food & Travel, and Luxos Magazine. She also advises as consultant to luxury hotels and restaurants. Over the years, Kemp has amassed a faithful following on BonjourParis. If she were a dish she'd be Alain Passard's Millefeuille “Caprice d'Enfant”, as a painting: Manet’s Dejeuner sur l’herbe !