Cannes seems to be missing something this year: a scandal

It might have been the unprecedented security at this year's festival, but one thing seems to have been missing from the 69th Cannes: a major scandal.

With more than 4,000 journalists in town for the festival, some kind of media flap has become an inevitable part of the annual festival's fare.

Last year, the so-called shoegate scandal erupted when a group of women were barred from entering a festival premiere because they were not wearing high heels, which are part of the dress code for women attending the festival's glitzy first-night screenings.

However, Hollywood star Julia Roberts hit back this year, leading a rebellion, which included Kristin Stewart and Susan Sarandon, against the festival's rule on high heels by turning up on Cannes’ famed red carpet in bare feet.

Still, this year's controversies appear to have been much more low key.

One mini drama emerged after a public relations agency staged a publicity stunt with a group of masked men holding Islamic State-style flags, who mounted a mock attack on a luxury French Riviera hotel, which is home to top stars during the festival.

The stunt seemed to somewhat over step the mark considering the festival has been on a full security alert following the deadly terrorist attacks on Paris and Brussels.

The French media were full of reports detailing how panic broke out at the Hotel du Cap Eden-Roc as the mock terrorist group headed for the hotel in an inflatable speedboat.

Three years ago the so-called Pink Panther gang was blamed for a multi-million gem theft from the Carlton hotel where Alfred Hitchcock's classic film To Catch a Thief was set and which is one the wedding-cake style hotels lying at the centre of the film festival.

However, the controversy stirred up this year by US singer Dionne Warwick seemed relatively tame.

Known for hits like Heartbreaker and Walk on By, Warwick popped up in town to unveil plans for a new biopic about her life, which she said would include pop star Lady Gaga playing her great nemesis, the 60's British singer and TV presenter Cilla Black.

The news, its seems, came as a big surprise to many people including Lady Gaga herself, who denied she was joining the film project.

Even Hollywood star Shia LaBeouf was on his best behaviour in Cannes this year when he appeared at the festival for the release of his new film American Honey.

Known more recently for his off-screen antics rather than many of his movie performances, LaBeouf plays a member of a fun-loving magazine sales crew criss-crossing the US looking for customers in the film from British-born director Andrea Arnold.

Every year there is also a theme running in the festival background.

One year it was the number of dogs in the films screened in the festival, another year it was the number of people using the toilet.

This year it has been cannibalism. But not even this seemed to stir up any trouble around the festival.

Among the slew of films in the festival's flesh-eating section was Slack Bay from French director Bruno Dumont, a slapstick comedy mixed in with a hefty amount of black humour about a cannibal family living on the marshy north coast of France in 1910.

Then there was Raw from another French director Julia Ducournau about a vegetarian in her first year at veterinarian school where she is forced to eat raw meat as part of her induction as a student.

But despite the anti-terrorist squads parked on every street in central Cannes, the Cote d'Azur town once again rose to the occasion of the festival.

On one of the main streets, there has been a beggar dressed in a Mickey Mouse suit raking in the money from passers-by, while a short distance away a rap dancer went through his paces carefully balancing what looked like a George Clooney mask on his face.

A tall drag queen dressed as a geisha girl also made (for some unexplained reason) regular appearances on the Croisette, the palm-lined boulevard that cuts through the centre of Cannes.

But the real news was about the Palm Dog, which has been awarded every year for the last 15 years to the best dog in the festival's lineup of movies.

Unfortunately the front-runner for the prize, Nellie, the British bulldog that had played a starring role in US director Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson about a bus driver with a passion for poetry, died several months before the movie's premiere in Cannes, the US entertainment magazine Hollywood Reporter said.

Last update: Thu, 19/05/2016 - 20:07

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