While I was over to the Carlton Hotel to visit my favorite gift lounge -- the DPA Gift Lounge of course -- I passed the Emporio Armani shop and saw this quote above. It translates from the French as "everyone has their own story" and that immediately became my own motto at this year's Cannes Film Festival.
This year the festival holds a lot of promise. Arab cinema is at its center with an unprecedented two films in Competition, Nadine Labaki's 'Capharnaüm' and Abu Bakr Shawky's 'Yomeddine', while there are of course quite a few other titles sprinkled among the sidebars, including Mohamed Ben Attia's 'Weldi'. A newly formed Saudi Film Council is occupying a harbor-side pavilion and offering wonderful panels (including one on Sunday the 13th at 11 moderated by yours truly and featuring Annemarie Jacir, Haifaa Al-Mansour, Lamia Chraibi and TIFF's own Cameron Bailey) as well as much welcomed Arabic coffee and dates. When I dropped by on a late afternoon I really cherished that cardamom and saffron infused shot of Arabia and the hospitality brought me back to my days in the Gulf.
Just a few steps away is another newcomer to the market here, but not a newcomer when it comes to great cinema. Palestinian filmmakers have long been the superstars of Arab cinema, with such maestros as Elia Suleiman, Hany Abu Assad and Annemarie Jacir leading the way. And now they have a pavilion to prove it! Palestinian flag flying proudly above it, when I visited briefly yesterday afternoon, the place was already rocking.
So off to a Saudi breakfast, the press junket for 'Yomeddine' and another cool film this afternoon -- 'Shéhérazade', which screens in the Critics' Week sidebar in Cannes.