The Cannes Press Club











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CANNES: Where the Sun Meets the Stars!

"Soul of a Man" sur le plage ... Photo: Max

Next on our agenda was a film on the Beach, a romantic Cannes tradition that's something like a drive-in movie, but without the cars. We chose to see Wim Wenders' "The Soul of a Man," a look at the lives of bluesmen Skip James and JB Lenoir, using archival footage and scripted reenactment. Under the warm Spring stars, our toes wiggling through the sand, we felt safely out of "The Matrix"...until the movie began. Suddenly, our ears were engulfed by the voice of Morpheus himself, Lawrence Fishburne's familiar basso profundo booming across the Plage. No, no, not again! But yes, there it was, draining our batteries with its familiarity, reminding us that only a small circle of stars get to play all the big roles in film, even narration. "The Soul of a Man" is certainly soulful enough, with its heartrending tales of racism and toe-tapping tunes from the Depression-era American South. But it plays like a TV documentary masquerading as a feature film. And some of that old Southern dialect is even tougher for contemporary Californians like us to comprehend than French.

Plus, we were distracted from "The Soul of a Man" by "The Stroll of A-Cannes," that is the Beachside Strollerama, the Living Theater of Cannes. Some of the world's most decked-out men, women and dogs stroll along the Croisette at Festival time, forcing their feet to strut in spike-heeled Blahniks, showing off their Prada beachwear or Versace formalwear, depending on the time of day, straining their necks to catch a star, puffing up their tanned, occasionally cosmetically-enhanced chests to be seen, to be shot, to be filmed by journalists, hoi poloi, Penelope Cruz, anyone. These are the real stars of Cannes. The other stars with mystic names like Fishburne and Eastwood were nowhere to be seen, or else only viewed for brief moments encircled by the white light of the paparazzi. Whose world was real, and whose was the Matrix--the stars or ours?

Jean-Philippe of Cannes-Matin with me (Photo: Max) and
Max with His Double Sean Connery (Photo: Suzy)

Just to complicate matters, star doubles and look-alikes were circulating throughout the Festival like replicas of Free Agent Smith. I know this because Jean-Philippe, the same Cannes-Matin journalist who interviewed me, wrote another story about these personality clones multiplying all over the Croisette, confusing the star-gazers among us. What a mind-twister! I mean, is Max a double for Sean Connery, or is Sean actually Max's dupe? The choice is yours… It made me wish I took the blue pill and could relax in my delusions that the stars are real as you and me.

Max of the famous Vanilla Cafe reads Cannes-Matin featuring Jean-Philippe's pieces on Dr. Suzy and Star Doubles at the Cannes Film Festival... Photos: Max

Every so often, our worlds converged. Like when we saw Nicole Kidman (at least, it looked like Nicole Kidman), at the party across the street in such a blaze of flashing photographic light, I expected us all to be transported to Zion or Baghdad when the smoke cleared. Another star-spotting occurred when I was doing an interview on the beach for my new Israeli TV series (set to start in Fall 2003 on Ananey's Ego Channel: The Dr. Susan Block Show: An Erotic Roadmap to Peace!). There I was trying to seduce pretty young French women into sharing a café with Haim Etger, the cute but overbearing Israeli host of Israel's version of "Extra," when we glimpsed Jean-Claude Van Damme rinsing off his famed "Muscles from Brussels" in the public douche, joyously spraying the clicking lens-locusts around him. At least, it looked like Van Damme. It may have been a Van Damme double. The Kidman could have also been a fabulous fake.

Trying to shoot a segment with Haim Etger for Israeli TV, with Nicole Kidman and Jean-Claude Van Damme doubles showing up everywhere.

But back to the films. The Cannes Film Festival is, after all, about film. Isn't it? Well, the reality is that it's about the parties. The films are part of the Cannes Matrix. You have to go to the films in order to get into the parties, or is it the other way around? Indeed, some people, especially journalists, tend to sleep through the films, especially the early-morning screenings, often recovering from last night's party. The parties are where you are truly alive (at least if you drink enough champagne, you think you are), out of The Matrix and into the groove, munching Merovingian chocolate cake, stealing kisses from Neo dupes and Persephone replicas, dancing like the orgiasts at Zion. Parties are everywhere in Cannes, on the beach, in the villas, in chateaus, on the yachts, in the streets, not to mention the restaurants, hotel rooms, terraces and bars.

Fireworks and Floating Fiestas!

With it's grand fireworks display and neon green Matrix-Within-A-Party-On-The-Beach, "The Matrix" Party on the Beach was pretty stunning. But the most talked about party of the festival was the MTV bash for Arnold Schwarzenegger's out-of-competition "Terminator 3: The Rise of the Machines." More machines? More champagne! Four thousand bottles of French champagne were consumed at this American shindig held at the space age hillside mansion, called Le Palais Bulles (The Bubble Palace), owned by famed French fashion designer Pierre Cardin. "All my life I have had big parties," said the 80-year-old couturier that designed the collarless Beatle jacket, an enduring symbol of the Swinging Sixties, among other seminal statements. Alas, but at least one of the fashion lovers present was not so well-heeled as Monsieur Cardin himself. Patrick's girlfriend Nicole's purse was lifted right out of one of the bubble rooms while she partied like it was 2003.

Max and me: Night and Day

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