Top 10 Wildest Cannes Moments8.03.10 # Top Ten # 6 Comments
It’s the film festival where anything goes. For two weeks in May a peaceful seaside town in the South of France is transformed into a place of motion picture madness by 10,000 film industry professionals descending from 97 countries. That means self-promoters large and small kicking it up at the most uninhibited parties and trying to grab as much attention as they can for themselves and for their movie. So what are some of the most unruly / scandalous / wacky events to have occurred in amongst the beautiful beaches, fabulous promenade and stunning harbour? These are the top 10 wildest Cannes moments.
10. Naked Cyclists From Belgium
In 2009, festival crowds were treated to the sight of numerous Belgian cyclists wobbling down the world-famous Riviera seafront. – Fully nude. It was meant as a recreation of a scene from ‘La Merditude des Choses’ (‘The Misfortunates’), premiering in the prestigious Directors’ Fortnight section. The number of onlookers who made that connection? Probably less than 1%.
9. Anti-Christ And Other Unspeakable Acts On Screen
It’s not just the people who are out to shock, but often the movies too. In 2009 it was Anti-Christ getting booed by the critics for its scenes of-… in fact I can’t even say what was happening, it’s that nasty. In 2001 it was Beatrice Dalle cannibalising truckers that had critics walking out. Every year has its controversial film that discovers some taboo yet to be exploited.
8. The Dolph Lundgren And Jean Claude Van Damme Fight
This was the stuff of playground legend if you were a boy at school in the 90s. Here’s how I heard it at the time, “Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren were in France for Universal Soldier and on the red carpet, and they hate each other so much that a fist fight breaks out. And you know who won? Lundgren kicked the sh*t out of Van Damme…” The reality was a lot more tame and a lot more staged.
7. Borat’s Mankini
Sacha Baron Cohen has always been the master of stunt publicity and Cannes was not spared. In what was in many ways an updating of the number 1 event on this list, comic creation Borat donned an horrific ‘mankini’ and took to the beach to promote his 2007 movie. There wasn’t a news outlet around the world that didn’t carry the images.
6. Hugh Grant’s Mountain And The Russian Porn Star
Miramax decided to promote 1995′s ‘The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill and Came Down a Mountain’ in the most literal way they could by building a 20ft mountain that Grant was supposed to climb on Cannes’ Majestic Beach. As Grant readied himself in front of photographers, a Russian porn star appeared from nowhere, scrambled up to the top and started stripping off. Attempts to remove her received much more attention than the stunt would have done.
5. Performance Artists Storm The Red Carpet
Controversy is anyone’s game at Cannes, you don’t even need to have anything to do with the movies, just know that the world’s cameras are pointed at you. In 2004 performance artists stormed the red carpet in protest against French unemployment. (The lettering on their backs reads ‘negotiation’.) If they put this much effort into finding a job…
4. Jacques D’Azur And The Tribe
Renowned socialite Jacques D’Azur always drew attention on the red carpet and this was never more true than when he turned up at the premiere of Les Quatre Cents Coups in 1959 with members of a Yamamena tribe (whom he had reportedly been living with in Venezuela for a couple of years prior). It stood out as perhaps the strangest event in a colourful life, until his disappearance over the Pacific last month.
3. Fahrenheit 9/11 Wins The Palme d’Or
The most controversial, and polarizing, winner of the Palme d’Or in Cannes history. Quentin Tarantino, jury president in 2004, said the anti-Bush documentary won for artistic achievement, not as a political statement. No one believed him. Many thought the movie was sloppily made, bent the truth too much and lacked diversity of opinion.
2. Jerry Seinfeld Dressed As A Bee, Jumping Off The 8 Storey Carlton Hotel
What do you do after masterminding the most successful sitcom of the decade? You write and star in an animated movie about bees, then go to Cannes to promote it by dressing yourself as a giant bee and launching off a tall building attached to a wire, wiggling your arms and legs for dear life. Didn’t help the movie.
1. Brigitte Bardot’s Bikini
Not shocking by today’s standards but none the less the most iconic wild Cannes moment. In 1953 it just wasn’t the done thing for film stars to pose in bikinis in this way. But Brigitte Bardot started a trend of bikini-clad stars for the festival that has continued to this day.