Kung Fu Pandering

The Cannes Film Festival got underway at 10 a.m. this with its split personality on full frontal display. At one end of the beach, in the Palais, some 1,600 journalists packed the Lumiere Theatre for the first official press screening of the opening night gala, Blindness, a Canadian co-production based on a Nobel laureate’s novel: a serious allegory about the human condition. I’d already seen it. So I was down the beach watching an allegory of a different colour, along with a horde of photographers and TV cameras. The occasion was a Hollywood stunt on the Carlton Hotel pier. Last year Dreamworks sent Jerry Seinfeld down a zip-wire from the roof of the Carlton in a bee suit to promote Bee Movie, a movie that turned out to be less entertaining than the stunt. This year Dreamworks trotted out Jack Black and a legion of dancing pandas to flog Kung Fu Panda, an animated kids’ movie that premieres in Cannes tomorrow, safely out of competition. And in case anyone is worried that Cannes is going soft, and just humouring the Hollywood dream merchants, cheek-by-jowl with the Kung Fu Panda gala tomorrow is the the premiere of an animated documentary about a horrific massacre of Palestinian civilians in Beirut during the early 80s.

Kung Fu Panda or Palestinian genocide. In Cannes you get a choice of cartoons. As for the Jack Black stunt, we can only hope that the movie is more fun. Jostling for space on the pier, camcorder in hand, here’s what I saw:

for more of my videos go to http://www.youtube.com/bdjfilms. All 2008 Cannes footage is shot on a Sony HDRSR12 camcorder, loaned courtesy of Sony Canada

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.