The Cannes Film Festival "IT"!

May 1970

Roy Lisker


The publishing house Editions Albin Michel hired me in 1970 as the English language editor of a film industry magazine called Le Journal de Show Business . I was in charge of the English page. For the most part I translated advertising and feature articles appearing elsewhere in the magazine.

In May we went down to the Riviera to cover the Cannes Film Festival . Within days of our arrival in Cannes, the 3 page daily rag, the IT! , mysteriously began appearing on tables in the lobbies of the luxury hotels lining the Croisette, the long beachfront boulevard.

This is a selection of articles appearing in the IT! from May 3rd to May 17th, 1970.

Wednesday, May 3rd,1970

Who's Who at the Cannes Film Festival

Scandalous Citrus Fruit Price Fixing

A staff reporter from the Cannes IT! , went into the Hotel Majestic the other day. Sitting on the terrace he ordered an orange juice for which he was charged 3 francs 50 centimes. That same afternoon he walked over to the open market on the Place Marceay , where he purchased a huge orange for 50 centimes. To quote from our correspondent:

"The Hotel Majestic really deserves its name. I don't know anywhere else that gives you such a royal screw job. It's hard for me to believe that a glass of orange juice pressed from a scrawny month-old orange is worth 7 times a ripe Jaffa orange bought in the street, just because of the fabulous ambiance one is supposed to be getting on the terrace of the Majestic. The view really is ugly from there, let me assure you: nothing but a lot of wealthy old bags showing off their decrepit nudity around a swimming pool they don't even use. If you ask me, the Majestic ought to be paying people to tolerate that view."

May 6th

Every day, between the hours of 1 and 3, one can go to the Plage Royale and visit the Literary Meat Market organized to benefit British Cinema, by Miriam Clore and her husband, a maker of boring movies , John ( The Emerald Forest ) Boorman.

At this elaborate buffet favorable coverage in the press is exchanged for so many pieces of roast beef, select crudités de jour , unlimited Rosé de Provence , and a genteel hour and a half of polite hypocrisy.

Just the other day this correspondent, representing both the Journal du Show Business and the IT! , was invited to help in spreading the British Miracle. He was put next to Jacques Delon, a reactionary realist . M. Delon pointed to his plate and explained : "This platter, heaped high with select viandes and choice legumes, is my reward for the articles I write about British cinema that appear every morning in Le Figaro ."

A hack from the English tabloids was much cruder about the whole thing: "On the salary the London Times pays me, I can't afford to pass up a free meal."

Half-way through this enervating Symposium on modern art and culture it was discovered that a young American journalist had neglected to send in his copy before the afternoon deadline. He was ejected in the midst of wolfing down his Salade Macedoine . This left more for others.

Between the heady conversation and the heavy food, all arose from the table so exhausted that it was hard to believe they'd be able to get any work done. One can be certain, however, that each will do his or her duty.

High Fashion At The Cannes Film Festival

Every evening, after a day spent in strenuous literary activity, the hack who is the lone creator of the Cannes Film Festival IT! resorts to the terrace of the Magali restaurant. There, in the company of a crowd of cynical modern dance students, he participates in a communal blood sport: ridiculing the latest representatives of high fashion at the Cannes festival.

As the sophisticated world of Show Biz passes by in obscene livery it encounters a crude verbal barrage which, ( through transposition from the physical to the metaphorical ) , affects to cover its glittering pulchritude with wet shit.

We have noticed a certain self-assured individual with a literary bent who, perhaps from too intensive a study of the works of Tennessee Williams, walks like an iguana: splayed feet, bent knees, hands clasped behind his back with thumbs sticking out, head in the air. He traverses the length of the Holy Croissant, then re-circuits. This pattern is repeated over a period of 3 hours. He has not yet taken to dressing like an alligator.

We'd also singled out for scorn a number of young women attired in dresses of chain mail, perhaps fashioned from Wilkinson's razor blades. They may have been discovered by a chained male corresponding by chain mail. Our general sense is that all that medieval metal would have been put to better use fashioning chastity belts.

It's been observed that burlap is very much the rage this year. Old potato sacks are dyed in immodest hues, then draped about the midriff so as to fall just above the ass-crack. In this way a small oval area of gangrenous flesh is exposed at the small of the back. The effect is striking, given that the hem of the dress lies just below the ass-crack.

Sexual Fury :

The sheer amount of fucking that goes on during the Cannes Film Festical is truly staggering. One should also study the first derivative, or rate of increasing fucking df/dt from the opening of the Festical to its conclusion.

A graphic image may be in order here : if a drop of sperm were to be released down the vacuum in a shaft on a square-inch base, its' height determined by the total amount of sperm exuded at the Festical in a single day, with an initial velocity equal to the rate of increasing fucking it would, upon hitting the ground, go through the center of the earth, come out in the Pacific , and reach the moon before a space-ship sent up from Cape Canaveral at the moment of release.

One is, let it be well understood, speaking only of the gross physical act of fucking. If one were to add into this all of the fucking being done by hotels, shopkeepers, restaurants, producers, distributors, directors, etc., on their clients, not even a CRAY computer would have the capacity to process the data.

May 9,1970


Around 9 PM the other night, the nabobs of celluloid encountered a weirdo marching up and down the Croissant squeezing a blue balloon. A frustrated musician as well, he employed his sensitive Conservatory trained fingers extracting excruciating noises from the surface of the balloon. Passing the heterogeneous groups of money-fuckers thronging the Croissant, he exchanged polite balloon noises with them. Two buxom Magdalenes standing outside the doorway of the Carlton Hotel called him a pauvre malade mentale . To which he could not resist commenting:look at the source.

An aged Empress tried to knock him down, but was forced to put her hands up to her ears through the production of Curdler effects.

The photographers along the Croissant refused to talk to his balloon. Only their little tigers, rendered docile through being drugs, were charmed by the plaintive mating-calls of the balloon and tried to tear themselves away from the arms of their captors and follow him down the street.

As he walked past the Bar du Festival the noises from his balloon made the wine in the glasses swirl about and slop over their rims. But the biggest commotion was created in front of the Palais du Festival . Here gaggles of fans were gathered to goggle the stars coming out of the Grand Salle. They suspected that the balloon man might be a famous personage in his own right, and that perhaps they ought to be listening to his balloon speech , which was not at all flattering to them. They lacked even the sagacity of the Carlton's hookers who had, with more accuracy, labeled him as 'pauve malade mentale '!

Franglais ?

If an Englishman should ask you something that sounds like , "Grand Salle, ou ?" it is just possible that he is asking for the "Grand Sale Loo"!

Tiger , Tiger Burning Bright !

For the paltry sum of 120 francs you too can have a picture of yourself standing on the Cannes Croissant holding a drug-addicted tiger . Although the general comportment of these photographers renders them merely obnoxious, the drugging of these helpless tigers may justify one in labeling them criminal.

With their experience in handling representatives of AP, UP and NBC, Mississippi's redneck sheriffs would know how to deal with these photographers. The editors of the IT! suggests that, in addition, they be drafted into the American Army and shipped off to Vietnam. As they ride through the jungle in a tank, someone could open the hatch and throw in an LSD-drugged adult tiger. Later Little Black Sambo can collect all the pancake batter.

In any case - the next time you feel like biting a Cannes street photographer - don't feel guilty.

May 8th

Will Woodstock Make Monty Bermans Rich ?

A rhetorical question, as Monty Bermans already has quite a lot of money. Yet it seemed to be the appropriate question to ask after the distributors of Woodstock announced, early this afternoon , that everyone in the select group of invités to the opening night of the film's showing at the IBM building , will be required to wear 'hippy clothing'.

Mr. Bermans is the largest costume manufacturer in the world. He should expect to be overwhelmed with orders for bags, the more expensive the better: hippies not only 'do' their bag, they also live in it. Levi's of San Francisco has dispatched a shipment of cashmere and velvet jeans, while army surplus stores everywhere are being ransacked to find khakis strong enough to withstand the weight of thousands of gold sequins.

The IT! was unable to confirm if the police will be on hand to make sure that nobody wearing a tuxedo gets into the building. The editors of the IT! feel that they, and all security personnel , should themselves be obliged to attend the opening of Woodstock in the nude.

Imagine it ! Black gun belt strapped around sagging midriff, badge pinned on left nipple, club held vertically in one hand, erectile cock in the other, as the conscientious cop hustles out a man in cocktail attire, ( whom, for all we know, may be doing his bag ! ) Indeed, it is somewhat unfair to prohibit evening dress, since the only bags appropriate to most of the audience will be those of pimps and hookers.

Yet there are bound to be problems for those for whom 'hippy dress' means a display in the nude. At what point does the Woodstock world begin and the Cannes world end ? Shouldn't there be a special decree stating that nudity will be permitted only within the IBM auditorium , and only during the 3 hours of screening , and will not be permitted, under threat of grim retribution , along the Cannes Croissant ? ( cf. the case of Mxynl Zgrbtz , IT! , May 3rd)

Should the uptight citizenry of Cannes really be expected to tolerate an invasion by all sorts of weirdos and freaks? Most of those who would like to strip will either not have the guts to do so, or will be dissuaded by the sound business sense that tells them that having their deformed bodies, covered with teethmarks from a hundred producers, exposed to public viewing, will spell the end of their movie career .

Once protected by the darkness of the auditorium, one suspects that people will be allowed, more or les, to do their own thing. If this turns out to be a reflection of the content of today's cinema , the convocation will quickly degenerate into gang rape, ritual cannibalism, gruesome executions, eye gougings and so on. As for good old honest ' love-making', this will occur, if at all, in obscure corners. Those who attempt it will be so conditioned by having to act it over and over again, that they will make a balls of it.

A Change of Schedule

Entre cinq et six is a well-known French expression. It refers to the fact that, traditionally , a Frenchman makes love to his mistress between the hours of 5 and 7. Here at the Cannes Film Festival the arrangement is different. People tend to be late risers and are very busy during these hours. The great luxury hotels have therefore obliging moved the distribution of girls to the hours of 3 to 5.

Go into the bar-lounges of the Carlton, Majestic, Grand, Miramar, etc., and you will find them lined up against the walls like the stock of a doll store. The market rate is a flat 50 francs for 15 minutes. This quarter hour should be interpreted in a manner analogous to the famous psychiatrist's " 50 minute hour". Estimate a maximum of 5 minutes for the real business.

A good professional can pick up $120 in an afternoon. Allowing for the rake-offs to the hotel and their mackerels, this leaves her with enough for a meal in a posh restaurant, a movie at the Festical and a new dress once in awhile.

Cautionary Note : If you want to pick up a whore at one of its bars, luxury hotels require that you wear a jacket of some sort. Here is a glossary for American johns: