i-D Film Editor Jonathan Crocker delivers the latest from Cannes 2011, mid-week at the camera-flashing, celeb-gazing festival the world is watching.
Ding ding! The fight for the Palme d’Or kicked off this week – for real. French police had to be called in to restrain critics who were close to rioting after failing to make it into the overpacked screening of US auteur Terrence Malick’s The Tree Of Life starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn.
But by this point, i-D was safely inside Cannes’ huge Lumiere theatre to experience a movie that was exactly what Cannes had been waiting for: a cosmic, cryptic epic about the meaning of life, the search for God and our place in the universe. Zut alors. Despite being bent out of shape by its own gigantic ambition, The Tree Of Life is a breathtaking odyssey through the beginning of life on earth (galactic visions, volcanos, dinosaurs, nature) and the everyday happenings of a 50s Texan family (Pitt, Jessica Chastain). Searching for answers to impossibly big questions, Malick’s camera turns every single frame of its 2 hours and 18 minutes into something wonderstruck and beautiful. Awesome and intimate, frustrated and frustrating, it’ll have people talking until the end of the festival and beyond. Palme d’Or favourite? You better believe it.
Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s appearance on the red carpet gave Cannes a much-needed jolt of star-power, but Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz had already had the crowds swarming and screaming on Saturday when they rolled up for Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. i-D rubbed shoulders with Jude Law (a jury member this year in Cannes) and Oscar-winning Bond screenwriter Paul Haggis (gliding around looking for drinks) as the BFI London Film Festival held their gorgeous annual soiree on the rooftop terrace of the JW Marriot Hotel.
So Cannes-glam is now at full-tilt, although the red carpet looked a paler shade compared to the face of poor Lindsey Wixon who fell four (!) times on the runway at Naomi Campbell’s Fashion For Relief fundraiser. Outdoing even Campbell’s famous Paris topple in 1993, 17-year-old Lindsey still managed to smile her way through a series of trapdoor curtsies in a huge golden silk gown. Oops…