Today while walking through the Palais du Festivals I saw Chaz Ebert. She was walking across the second floor, heading for the escalator. I stepped on behind her. We slowly rode it down to the lower floor. She stood in front of me not having any idea who was, of course, but I knew so much about her. She was wearing an elegant caramel-colored suit but her expression carried a slight look of worry — and was it sadness I sensed, or was that something I was projecting onto her. Ebert was always such a fixture in Cannes, long before I ever came here. He leaves behind a legacy, and his wife who now must see this crowded festival in a different way. What a difference a year makes.
Was it last year or the year before when I saw Ebert and Chaz walking across that same floor in the Palais du Festival? Then she was smiling. You never saw them apart. Things have changed here at Cannes in some ways. In other ways they haven’t. After four years of coming here I now recognize so many of the faces of people I’ve seen before but don’t yet know. They are distinctive in that European way of letting nature take its course. In America we try to beat back age.
I saw the face of a woman I’d taken a picture of two years ago. When I’d seen her I’d assumed she was a patron, maybe, or a tourist. She stood out because she wears her gray hair unchanged. She is maybe in her mid 60s. And she’s still a journalist coming to Cannes to work the festival. We see what we want to see.