Thursday, 10 May 2012

Cannes Film Festival Revisited

The Cannes Film Festival promises to be exciting this year. I can't go into details, much as I would like to, just yet.
Have to say, festivals such as this have never really been my cup of tea: all the preening and posturing and one-upmanship.
What I dislike most about them--pretty much putting them on a level with BBC Breakfast TV and other chatshows, is that everyone is buttering everyone else up, even though they may not be able to stand the mortal sight of them. I remember I was once on Nicky Campbell's show with Churchill's grandson and a few others--one of those discussions where everyone sits around a table and tries to put the world to rights. Someone said to me, "Isn't Will Young wonderful?" which I responded, "No," and everyone suddenly looked like they were in Madame Tussauds. The Campbell show was supposed to discuss a young woman who had appeared on the front page of The Sun, which as everyone knows is my least favourite chipwrap--there was a photograph of her, dead, kneeling on the kitchen floor with the syringe still sticking out of her arm. One of the guests--the operatic soprano who recently performed in a wheelchair because she had broken her leg--said she was only interested in talking about her new role. A young rock star only wanted to promote his new album, "Winnie" as he was called--Churchill's grandson was an old toad who none of us liked--was only interested in talking about his famous grandad and said that if someone wanted to stick needles in their arm, it was up to them. I was promoting Callas, ahead of that evening's supper tribute with Lord Harewood. So, hot on my Will Young rebuttal, Campbell pipes a quote from the book, "Churchill was on Onassis' yacht, and told Callas to her face that he and his wife Clementine were sick of hearing her catawaulling first thing every morning, at which the great lady turned on him with, 'And I'm sick of your moaning, so why don't you piss off, you incontinent old fart!'" Thenon the discussion became much more interesting. Winnie Jr most definitely did not like Callas after that!
Marlene was the emblem for the 1992 Cannes Film Festival at the time of her death. There was a big poster at the end of her street. "A good time to bow out," my friend Sheridan Morley said at the time. The image is from Shanghai Express, a superb film directed by Josef von Sternberg.

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