One of the perks of being a full-time resident of Nice is the privilege of attending the Cannes Film Festival for free. Ok, it’s not exactly free because you have to apply for accreditation in the category of “Cinéphile” which requires membership in the Cinématheque. But guess what? I’m already a member. And how happy was I to be certified a “cinéphile” when I’ve been one unofficially my entire life.
The Cinephile badge does not confer an owner access to all the films. The splashy numbers in the main competition for the prestigious Palme D’Or are out of bounds. However, those are the films — this year by Terence Malik, Quentin Tarantino, Jim Jarmusch, Pedro Almodovar among others lesser-known — that are likely to make it into theaters. Some already have. The other night, not fully sated by my Cannes experience, I walked a few minutes to my local theater and caught the Almodovar, “Pain and Glory,” which was so much the latter and not the former.
The more offbeat, independent examples of global cinema are widely available, with showings spread across four main theaters at a distance from the star-studded Croisette. So far I’ve seen films from Colombia, Iceland and New Zealand. You wait in line for about 45 minutes, but there’s a café on the spot for refreshment while you wait.
This is the 72nd Festival. With 800 films being shown starting at 8:30am and ending at midnight on some nights, you are nevertheless lucky to get in to see your favorite selections. Of course, many are disqualified from my selection for being in the weirdly popular genre-bending horror category, or an especially bleak social film or an egregious example of “slow cinema” (the Philippine film that is more than four hours long).
Next year, I might book a room for a couple of nights to pack in the early and late events, which are not just films but Master Classes from directors and actors. Again, FREE. If you’re an official cinéphile.