Things change, evolve and even get worse. A central theme in the cannes film festival, fundamental, is to see the films. It’s a film festival, and if you don’t come to see the films, why come to Cannes?
But unlike other Class A international shows, theater tickets are priceless here. And they don’t have it because they aren’t for sale, they aren’t for sale.
So, how to access cinemas, how to see what’s new Pedro AlmodóvarWim Wenders, Wes Anderson, Nani Moretti or an unknown African director?
Easy, or not so much. You must be accredited or receive an invitation for non-press features.
Tickets can be purchased in Venice or Berlin. At the Venice Film Festival, for example, the afternoon or evening shows are more expensive than the morning shows. And in the one in Toronto I saw in the access line of one of the Galas attended by film stars how they bought for 50 Canadian dollars – that is the price multiplied by 5 – an audience to see more or less close to George Clooney.
It has always been common, to see many inhabitants of Cannes standing stoically, dressed to the nines if it is a night show at the Grand Theater Lumière, around or right at the entrances to the Hall, holding a small handwritten sign, with more or less naivety, asking Please (please), a card or an invitation.
But who can give them?
In former times, the accredited press could ask for tickets to any performance of La Lumière. These were pre-pandemic times and luck depended on the capacity of the Lumière being full and on the Festival’s ability to seduce the press. In some international festivals it is checked if an accredited person asks for a ticket and then does not use it. It is something that is checked by reading the bar system.
So, before, if for some extraordinary reason you had a ticket and didn’t want to use it, you went to the Croisette, the avenue that leads to the Palais des Festivals, and gave it away to anyone who asked for it. ‘il vous plaît.
But now it’s different. If you have a ticket, print the name of the person requesting it. And if they became strict upon entering the hall, and checked the name of the credential against that of the ticket (which can be physical or have it online on a mobile phone), both the credential holder and the one who now has the ticket would be in trouble.
In general, invitations or tickets are largely given to producers or distributors of the film in question. That’s why it’s easy to see how they give them away minutes after the show starts.
The pandemic has changed everything
Journalists accredited since last year must book tickets, both for press events and for those open to the public and other accredited ones. For example, distributors have to pay a fee to access their accreditation which is much higher than what we journalists pay (24 euros).
The reservation is made from four days before the date on which you wish to see a film. You have to do it online and it starts at 7:00. In other words, for the first few days, I set my alarm at 1:54 in Buenos Aires, due to the 5-hour time difference, in order to access the tickets.
But I could find out that the quota was full. The system isn’t perfect, and for example to see the closing ceremony, at 7.01 he already told me it was complete. Finding out in the press, it would only be enabled at 2pm.
At the Venice Film Festival the online booking system is the same, but you can book for two days in a row. Last year you too had to be patient, as you watched on the netbook screen as you progressed in line, and the system crashed and you had to enter again, losing your place in line.
The Venice Exhibition allows those preparing to book to choose their location in the pavilions, or allows the system to choose the best location available. In Cannes, the system chooses one. Je suis deesole (sorry) if you don’t like what he got into you.
Charles Hurd is an entertainment journalist for News Rebeat. He brings a fresh and engaging voice to the world of pop culture, covering the latest developments in film, television, music, and more.