The Palais is now home to the homeless. An occasional dog walker strolls the deserted Croisette. Once jammed restaurants on Rue St. Antoine are locked, as is the Hotel Du Cap.
Cannes would normally be prepping frantically for its Film Festival May 12, but its delay and the subsequent lock down has slammed this once affluent and bustling mecca. “We are both festless and feckless,” grieves Burton Gintell, an American entertainment executive who has lived in Cannes for twenty years.
Residents are accustomed to spotting celebrities as they wait on the red carpet at this time of year. Instead, they must apply on line for a 'an 'attestation', permitting them to stroll one kilometer outdoors for recreation or grocery shopping. Cannes' famously officious cops check their papers now and then. enforcing the rules. Driving is limited because many gas stations are shut.
“This no longer a mirthful town,” said Gintell, whose British wife, Jackie Pressman-Gintell, is a top realtor. “Those people who rented lavish homes for the duration of the Festival are looking for refunds.” Even the Hotel Du Cap stands empty, devoid of its lavish parties linked to the Festival and its stars.
A movie buff and a gourmet, Gintell and his wife are confined to their home for meals and entertainment. “I used to complain about all the street construction in Cannes and the chaotic traffic, until the streets suddenly became empty,“ he said. The Cannes Film Festival is just one of many events that normally dominate the schedule — conventions for television, advertising and many other fields.
Leaders of the Film Festival equivocated for weeks about a possible delay before finally throwing up their hands and agreeing to a later date, still undesignated.. Their last cancellation took place amid the fierce political protests of 1968. Pierre Lescure, the Fest President, found himself caught in a media crossfire last week over reports that he had hastily rejected an insurance policy that would have protected the festival from financial losses. Lescure, a former chief of Canal Plus, countered critics by disclosing that the policy would only have covered one tenth of the festivals $36 million budget.
Cancellation of the festival this year puts new pressure on the fall fests at Venice and Toronto, leaving indie filmmakers to scramble for screening dates. The Telluride Festival also poses an opportunity for producers to show their wares, but that event is more a showcase rather than a market.
Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Show: The Secret History of Hollywood
Where You Can Stream It: The podcasting app of your choice.
The Pitch: The Secret History of Hollywood is the most compelling, immersive, and emotional podcast I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to. Each season consists of deep dives into a major Hollywood figure, tracing its subject’s rise to prominence and giving incredible insight into their home lives, painting a portrait so captivating and well-rounded that biographies or books on the subjects could only dream to achieve.
Why It’s Essential Quarantine Listening: I’ve been thinking about this podcast a lot since I first stumbled across it several years ago, but I think it’s especially appropriate to recommend it right now because some of its episodes are incredibly lengthy – many clock in around an hour and a half, but some of them stretch to four, six, or even nine hours long. Yes, really. Some of you may scoff, but isn’t being in quarantine the perfect time to give a long-form podcast a chance?
Adam Roche, the voice behind the show, had no background in sound editing or sound production when he got started, but he could have fooled me: the series reminds me of an old-time radio show, complete with sound effects and Roche doing voices as he plays the people in a given scene. I realize that may sound cheesy, and it absolutely would be in less-capable hands. But trust me: Roche’s mellifluous voice and incredibly researched accounts are perfect for this type of storytelling.
The show has brought me to tears multiple times over the years, and I think a huge part of the reason for that is because of the long episode lengths. Like a great TV series you never want to end, you get to spend hours and hours with the subjects of these episodes and build emotional connections to them, so when they they experience hardships, a project goes wrong, or they lose a loved one, the results can be unexpectedly powerful.
The show has earned the attention of Hollywood vets like Peter Ramsey Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and Mark Gatiss Sherlock, Game of Thrones, the latter of whom lends his own terrific voice to introductions of the most recent season, which covers the prolific producer Val Lewton Cat People, The Body Snatcher, The Ghost Ship. I knew nothing about Lewton or his work before I listened to the eleven episode season, but by the end, I feel like not only do I know all about him, but I feel I’ve experienced his highs and lows right alongside him. It’s truly spellbinding stuff, and it comes with my absolute highest recommendation.
I’ve talked about the show a couple...