CANNES, France — Behind the scenes at the May 15-26 Cannes Film Festival:
PUMP UP THE BASS: France’s top female chef led the spread for festival jury boss Steven Spielberg, Leonardo DiCaprio, Nicole Kidman and 600 other glitterati at a gala bash on Wednesday.
Anne-Sophie Pic, the only woman in France to be awarded the maximum three Michelin stars, teamed up with two-star Bruno Oger for an offering of sea bass with rhubarb, preceded by a crab-and-prawn starter and a caviar wafer “with a bergamot-tinged onion mousse and green pea aspic”.
The dinner took place in a huge marquee on Cannes port, which will be used for a Roaring Twenties ball (minus bootleggers) for 800 locals in Gatsby-style dress.
APRES MWA-MWA LE DELUGE: The stars set foot on the red carpet for a touch of air-kissing for Cannes’ grand opening on Wednesday… and then the rain began. Several days of grey skies, stiff winds and rain are scheduled, spoiling plans for media-friendly stunts on the palm-fringed Croisette seafront.
MAKE MINE A CLASSIC: The promoters of “The Great Gatsby” are pushing hard on tie-in Twenties products, from cufflinks to V-necked sweaters and flapper dresses.
But apart from a gang of professional dancers in period outfit, you will have looked in vain at Wednesday’s opening for any star who deviated from a classic gown or a tux supplied by their signature supplier.
For designers, Cannes is “better than an advertisement,” says Emilie Legendre, who works with Lebanese couturier Elie Saab, a favorite with award ceremony regulars.
“Clients identify more with an actress than with a model.”
CUTTING A RUG: French environmentalists are casting a caustic eye on the festival’s famous red carpet.
The ruby rug is rolled out two or three times a day at the entrance to the Palais des Festivals to honor directors and actors whose film is being premiered in the competition section.
Each time, factory-fresh carpet is used to cover an area the size of a tennis court.
“This is a huge waste and senseless production of garbage,” says the group Greenpride. Its online petition, asking the festival to limit the tribute to one new carpet a day, has drawn nearly 6,000 signature.
AIDS GALA: Duran Duran, Hot Chelle Rae and Shirley Bassey have been lined up to provide the sounds for the May 23 amFAR gala to raise money for AIDS research.
Last year’s celebrity bash — a dinner followed by an auction — raised 10 million euros ($13 million), a record. Sharon Stone and Janet Jackson host this year’s event.