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Farewell to Cannes

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After a week of endless parties, crammed screenings, run on meetings and packed restaurants, the 65th Annual Festival de Cannes is finally over. I saw a few old friends, made new ones; ran into Mads Mikkelsen and partied with Gael García Bernal. I did the red carpet and I got to see a few movies: horror films, auteur films, documentaries and then Jaws in the Cinema la Plage to thunderous applause as the waves of the Riviera crashed on the beach. More importantly, the team that represents my movie, The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh, clinched a few important deals.

And if I could sum up the experience in a few words it inevitably comes back to the movies; Cannes reminded me why ultimately any filmmaker does what he does: self expression.
I was happy to learn, despite all the trepidation leading up to it, that my movie mostly worked with a hardened audience of buyers, festival programmers and fellow filmmakers -- enough to generate offers from several big distribution companies, and be invited to other festivals around the world.

Not all movies performed well. True to form, most of the competition films elicited a wide range of responses, and not all of them positive. Last I heard, Cronenberg's Cosmopolis, which closed the festival, was getting a bad buzz but I have yet to read what the critics wrote.

On my last night there, I stood outside yet another party along the Croissette. Somehow the booming thud of the dance music sounded better drowning against the waves. It was late and there were only a few people milling around in the streets, mostly stumbling home or chasing cabs.

David Cronenberg walked by looking tired and seemingly happy to be away from it all. Despite the fact that this was his fourth time at the festival and had once been a member of its prestigious jury, in that moment he was just another guy hoping that his movie was going to go over well. But even if it didn't, I guess it doesn't really matter. His film was premiering in Cannes, the Mount Olympus of film festivals. In a way, he had already won.

And so had the rest of us.