As journalists and bloggers descend upon the seaside town of Cannes in the south of France, the nagging question remains: Why would an Oscar analyst spend thousands of dollars to travel thousands of miles to attend a film festival that has limited influence on the Oscars? First, it’s because our love for movies is a stronger force in our lives than our interest in the Oscars. World cinema doesn’t rely on the Oscars for validation. But it turns out that one’s association with Oscars can undeniably open doors to a wider world of film — and with those doors graciously held open, we make our entreé.
All the same, why invest all the time, the effort, the expense of a trip to Cannes? You might ask that question about life’s adventure in general: Why strive to do anything? If we start with the grim premise that we live our lives preparing to die, then everything we do between our first breath and last should be the things we love to do rather than things we have to do. Things we’ve never done rather than things we’ve already done. If we only keep doing what we’ve done, we only keep getting what we’ve got. Our choices are limited, after all. We don’t have forever. All we ever have, all we’re ever going to get, is right here, right now, right in front of us. So we grab on tight to whatever we can, wrap our arms around its neck, wrap our legs around its waist, and ride the wild beast for all its worth. Most of all, we need to seize every opportunity to distance ourselves from the familiar in order to feel things afresh. Spectacular things worth a journey of 6000 miles to come see.
Getting to Cannes always seems deceptively simple when you’re buying things online to get there. A plane ticket. An AirBnB flat. A computer adaptor plug. Click, click, and click. You think you’re all ready to go, dragging your giant suitcase through the airport terminal, checking your bags, arranging your creature comforts in your airplane seat. Time delights in playing tricks on your internal clock the further you get from the time zone that tells you when to wake up and when to go to sleep. Natural sleep/wake cycles suddenly become an thing that feels artificial, a scheme you consciously need to think about. Questions plague. Should I sleep now? Should I stay awake? If I stay awake can I subvert the effects of jet lag and thereby prevent the inevitable dead drop in the morning screening you really can’t miss?