Six years I’ve been coming to the Cannes Film Fest but I’ve never attended the Cinema de la Plage, their drive-in on the beach. Quentin Tarantino was here this week with his tribute to Sergio Leone, truly one of the best directors of the western and one to whom Tarantino himself owes a great debt. But many directors have stolen from Leone, not just Tarantino. Tonight’s event featured The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, a three hour tour de force of suspense, guns and cool Eastwood expressions as the young actor made the leap from television to film. An icon was born.
Cinema de la Plage is free and open to the public. You are forbidden from bringing food or drink, and they enforce this rule as they enforce every rule here, for better or worse. They hand out free blankets to keep you warm on these chilly nights in May. I’d forgotten two things upon leaving my flat. The first, my badge. I didn’t think I would need it, imagining myself simply walking to the outdoor theater to take my freely given seat. The second, that every night in Cannes, but especially Saturday night, is packed around the Palais du Festival, with the entire thing mostly gated off.