Cannes puts on the glitz to celebrate own film fame

18th May 2007, Comments 0 comments

CANNES, France, May 18, 2007 (AFP) - Fireworks on the Mediterranean, photo shows, concerts, and even a special mass are being hosted by the Riviera city of Cannes to fete its more than six decades of burgeoning film glory.

CANNES, France, May 18, 2007 (AFP) - Fireworks on the Mediterranean, photo shows, concerts, and even a special mass are being hosted by the Riviera city of Cannes to fete its more than six decades of burgeoning film glory.

Tid-bits about the city's cinematic role as the world's paramount filmfest turns 60 are also on offer for the thousands of buffs and star-gazers in town for a slice of movie action.

For example: whose is the four-finger imprint of a hand among the 333 immortalised in cement at the foot of the festival's famed steps? The Pink Panther's!

That's one snippet revealed during Valerie Barelli's walking tour, enjoyed by tourists as well as by locals "who don't know all the little bits of history about the festival," she told AFP.

Few realize it was the elegant Belle Epoque casino, which occupied the same site as the current festival palace, that hosted the first festival in 1939, interrupted after a day when Hitler's invasion of Poland triggered World War II.

The tour is "all about the things that you've always wanted to know about the festival but never known who to ask," Barelli noted.

Stories include the times when Marcello Mastroianni prepared pasta in the evening for his friends on the beach after the screenings, or the one about the "Chez Madeleine" beach opposite the Carlton hotel, which years ago was a meeting place for gays.

One day, writer Tennessee Williams turned up there with a young man, whom he presented to everyone as his nephew, which caused Franco Zeffirelli to remark, "I know him well, last year he was my nephew!"

While the tour costs 10 euros, most of the city events are free.

That is no mean feat given that access to the festival venue's multiple film screenings and daily events is restricted to the 15,000 badge-wearing participants flooding the small up-market seaside resort for the serious business of buying and selling movies.

On the eve of the 12-day fest, giant-sized blow-ups of movie celebs by French photographer Denis Rouvre went up on walls around the town centre -- including Tom Hanks, Morgan Freeman, Laetitia Casta and Emma de Caunes.

When the festival officially celebrates its 60th birthday Sunday, fireworks will literally fill the air, with a high-powered display organisers promise will light up the bay of Cannes.

Some 1,500 lucky local tax payers meanwhile have won town hall lottery tickets to attend the highly coveted film screenings usually only seen by specialist critics and film types during the 12-day fest.


Copyright AFP

SUbject: French news

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