Yes, there was a flash taxi strike at the airport in Nice yesterday, just as my flight was getting in. No, they were not prepared for an action by all taxi drivers to block the roads accessing the airport, so no vehicle of any sort could get in or out of the airport. Yes, there is a tramway track recently built which reaches terminal 3 but no, there was no tram traveling on it. So everyone had to walk for miles, with luggage in tow, under the sweltering sun, to reach an overcrowded train, through overpasses and station underpasses (read: lots and lots of stairs) mimicking the zombies in Jim Jarmusch’s Cannes opening night film.
Welcome to the glamorous life of a journalist covering the Festival de Cannes! If I hear one more time what a wonderful opportunity it is for me to be doing what I do, I’ll strangle someone. Then, I might actually begin to get the attention I deserve.
Thankfully, I had wonderful company, we serendipitously sat next to each other on the flight from Rome, a certain cool film producer from the Arab world whose work I admire and who is a perfectly wonderful person to hang out with. He made the trip bearable. He, at the last moment just as I started to feel a welling up of a hissy fit surging within me, took out his phone and ordered an Uber. And stood in the middle of the road, under the scorching sun, to make sure no one else got into it. Check one for great men! They do exist and they do come to Cannes.
Once this typically easy two hour trip from Rome which turned into a five hour ordeal was done, I checked into my pleasant and super central hotel. More on that in later posts, as I’m not ready to disclose my location yet. In my room, I drank my first cup of obligatory Nespresso — they are big sponsors in Cannes, have their own private beach club and probably singlehandedly keep the press tribe caffeinated and sane — I grabbed my credential letter, passport and off I went to collect my press pass. I’d watched many of my male colleagues brag on Twitter and Facebook about their “pinks” which is, for those who may not know, the easiest and best badge you can get as a print/online journalist. TV and radio fare better but in past years, my own pinks meant getting to press screenings fifteen minutes before they started and even attending some nice red carpets — like one two years ago featuring the late, great Agnès Varda.
Well, I was in for a surprise! I’ve gotten suddenly demoted, not to blue mind you, which is what I expected since my guardian angel and best friend is no longer around to bring my worth of the press office’s attention. No, not blue, I was bluer than blue, I found myself with, GASP! A yellow badge. I remember my first year in Cannes, I had that badge. It was OK then, I hadn’t filled the five volumes of interviews with major stars I have to date and moderated panels internationally, or held masterclasses with the likes of Meg Ryan and Ralph Fiennes yet. As I have now. No, I was fresh then, new, and wonderfully unaware of the hierarchy of the badge colors. Meaning, I didn’t know how embarrassing it is to be a grown woman holding a yellow badge — typically reserved for fresh new writers or dilettantes.
So, after a well deserved, and much postponed meltdown in my room, off I went to a cocktail party held by one of my favorite PR firms, DDA. I drank a glass of Prosecco, I ate a warm mini quiche, I chatted with friends and started to forget my troubles. Although I did notice that none of my male colleagues were in possession of a yellow or even blue badge. And only seasoned women journalists are relegated to those unflattering colors… Maybe the whole #TimesUp movement should not just include women filmmakers.
I say 50/50 by 2020 Festival de Cannes — but make it also about women journalists, s’il vous plait!