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Day 3: Behind the scenes at the Cannes Film Festival

  • Jeremie Renier poses for photographers during a photo call for Saint-Laurent at the 67th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Saturday, May 17, 2014. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

CANNES, France: Behind the scenes at the Cannes Film Festival on Friday:

A LITTLE LOCAL DIFFICULTY: It's usually Champagne, lobster and big-money deals all the way for industry movers and shakers on their annual jolly to Cannes. Not this year.

Instead movie world bigwigs endured coffee from plastic cups, sandwiches and gruelling road trips as transport workers went on strike on Thursday.

Execs on their way to the French Riviera had flights cancelled or found themselves stranded in airport lounges mid-journey.

Heroically, some resorted to wheeling and dealing of a different sort to get there.

One Cannes-bound CEO embarked on a 14-hour road journey while another who managed to get to the airport at Nice only persuaded a taxi driver to pick him up by agreeing to lie flat in the back so he wasn't branded a scab by other cabbies.

"We're supposed to be in a meeting right now," music rights boss Philip Moross told The Hollywood Reporter on his mobile from an autoroute somewhere in the middle of France.

"We're tying up a deal in the morning so we're getting there by hook or by crook," he said.

A London film festival director, Claire Stewart, bemoaned the perennial fly in the Cannes ointment.

"There's always something, some protest or strike during Cannes, but this year it's really extreme. It's affecting everyone," she said.

CANNES REGULAR: When it comes to the Cannes Film Festival, there are plenty of celebrity spotters and film buffs who hang around, but none have been as faithful and determined as 97-year-old Simone Lancelot.

The still-sprightly cinema lover has been to no less than 66 festivals and her life is intricately tied to the glitzy event, now in its 67th year.

"The year I gave birth, there was no festival. Everyone says that it was because I wasn't there that they didn't go ahead with it," she joked, strolling along the famed Croisette seaside promenade.

Her first festival was in 1947 and she points out that stars at the time -- mainly French -- would go up not 24 steps but just two to the then festival hall, not far from the so-called Bunker where it takes place now.

She's passionate about cinema, which she discovered when she was eight by watching silent movies that fairground entertainers used to bring to her village.

A cashier at a cinema, an usherette, a programme planner.... Lancelot has had all forms of jobs in the industry, and she also co-founded a French association that promotes art house films.

This year, she wants to see 83-year-old Swiss director Jean-Luc Godard win the top Palme d'Or prize with his film "Goodbye to Language".

Her one regret? The lack of star-quality on the Croisette these days.

"You used to see starlets more and even famous stars on the Croisette. They didn't need bodyguards then," she said.

GOLDEN WRINKLIES: Gallic cinema would appear to be in need of some spring chickens if the results of one poll on the best-known French faces are anything to go by.

The normally youth-obsessed movie world's best-known French stars turn out to be mostly in their seventies and eighties.

In order, Gerard Depardieu, Alain Delon, Catherine Deneuve, Jean-Paul Belmondo, and Brigitte Bardot, came out as the actors with the highest international profiles.

The only member of younger generation to get a look in was "Amelie" star Audrey Tautou, a mere baby at just 37, who made it onto the list in sixth place after Bardot, according to the poll by French film export agency Unifrance.

 
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Summary

CANNES REGULAR: When it comes to the Cannes Film Festival, there are plenty of celebrity spotters and film buffs who hang around, but none have been as faithful and determined as 97-year-old Simone Lancelot.

The still-sprightly cinema lover has been to no less than 66 festivals and her life is intricately tied to the glitzy event, now in its 67th year.

GOLDEN WRINKLIES: Gallic cinema would appear to be in need of some spring chickens if the results of one poll on the best-known French faces are anything to go by.

The normally youth-obsessed movie world's best-known French stars turn out to be mostly in their seventies and eighties.

In order, Gerard Depardieu, Alain Delon, Catherine Deneuve, Jean-Paul Belmondo, and Brigitte Bardot, came out as the actors with the highest international profiles.


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