My neighbors Gauri and Rohit Gupta’s daughter Ira is an undergraduate student at the University of Pennsylvania, pursuing a Major in Politics-Philosophy-Economics and Minors in Mathematics and Statistics. Her parents mentioned that Ira attended the Cannes Film Festival as a part of school project. I asked Ira to mail me her festival diary.
Here it is, in Ira’s own words:
“On May 13 2015, I walked the Red Carpet for the opening night of the 68thCannes Film Festival. It was my first time and I was both excited and nervous. As I donned my brand new lavender gown and entered the Grand Lumiere for a screening of the opening film, Le Tete Haute, I knew that at that moment, I was amongst the 2,300 privileged audiences on the planet and the feeling was exhilarating!
And how did this happen? Call it destiny but I was a part of a Cinema studies summer abroad program with the University of Pennsylvania and the 29 students were offered the option to visit Cannes festival to watch and review movies and of course, have a lot of fun!
Some of us who could afford the experience grabbed the opportunity and it proved to be a life transforming experience.
My friends and I learnt through trial and error how to choose our screenings. We discovered that different genres have different sections for instance Competition Films are clearly the most important films and the Market Films are where producers negotiate business. It was the first time for all of us and we were seduced by the buzz and the ambience. We observed and we absorbed and when we were alone together at a café, we shared our experiences with each other.
Every morning my friends and I basked in the golden sun of the French Riviera and treated ourselves myself to copious amounts of Gelato. At noon we hung around the venue, spotting stars and every evening was a date at the red carpet. We dressed up every evening for the red carpet and when the lights dimmed inside the theatre, got absorbed with the characters on the screen.
I loved Amy, an engaging documentary combined with authentic video clips on Amy Wine house shot by Indian director Asif Kapadia. Natalie Portman’s directorial debut, A Tale of Love and Darkness based on the memoir of Amos Oz, an Israeli author and set in a war-torn Jerusalem though well shot had something missing in the narrative.
One of the most talked about film at the festival was Todd Haynes’ Carol about a lesbian relationship between a young saleswoman and an older married woman set in New York in the early 1950’s but my personal favorite remains Paulina, winner of the Nespresso Grand Prix.
It has been a few weeks I have returned to my college campus but the memory of Cannes lingers. I think of Jake Gyllenhaal on the terrace of the Ritz Carlton…Remember Sonam Kapoor indulging us in the Indian Pavilion and the gorgeous Aishwarya Rai gracefully posing for pictures with us.
Cannes Film Festival was like dream come true, thank you mom and dad, for your generosity, I will cherish this gift forever.”
Faithfully yours, Ira Rohit Gupta