For anyone who is anyone in the cinema world, the Cannes International Film Festival is unmissable.
It is also open season for autograph-hunters and the paparazzi. .
Of course, behind the glamour, the wheels of a massive industry are turning. There will be no less than 9,000 producers from 83 countries on the Croisette this year.
While they will be coming away with new contacts and contracts, someone will be coming away with the Palme d’Or for Best Film.
The jury includes actors Monica Bellucci, Zhang Ziyi and Samuel L. Jackson, and it is headed by Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai.
Kar Wai is staying at the Carlton Hotel which traditionally becomes the backdrop for massive adverts for forthcoming Hollywood movies.
The Carlton is actually renaming a suite after the man who won the Best Director award at Cannes in 1997 for “Happy Together”.
A stone’s throw from the Carlton lies the Majestic, which is putting the final touches to its finest rooms and suites. Soon the staff will waiting on stars such as Gerard Depardieu and Tim Roth.
The film festival’s a hectic time for such establishments, as the Mejestic’s general director, Eric Boonstoppel, explains:
“This year we’re once again organising the closing dinner, which means 700 people in the ambassadors’ room and 800 on the Majestic’s beach. It’s a lot in terms of logistics but at the same time we have to maintain the quality of our products which is the defining feature of palaces like ours.”
So they are all set for 10 days of glitter, partying, stargazing and deal-striking.
Talking of strikes, local police officers did just that on Wednesday, protesting about working conditions.
But on the Croisette it is now business as usual.