I've had both good and bad experiences at the Cannes festival--last year I had to listen to someone's incessant anecdotes about working in a video store as the price for a ride down on the G5--but this year takes the cake. I find very few reasons to leave my (junior) suite but the festival can usually be counted as one of them and so it was that I made my way to a villa in Cap d'Antibes where I enjoyed a reasonable degree of seclusion from this, that and the other thing until I was convinced, against my better judgment, to attend a party on someone's yacht.
In spite of the hour, I knew I'd arrived early as the starlets still had their clothes on which meant that I would be required to make conversation with people until I could effect my exit once the official jambes en l'air got underway. It wasn't long before I was braced by a representative of the Turkmenistan film commission who importuned me about locating my next film production in his country. He showed me pictures of dungeons and modern torture facilities that he could place at my disposition complete with ex-KGB staff who could serve as technical advisors in addition to providing security for the production. I made the mistake of making what was taken for an expression of approval and, the next thing I knew, I was being hustled into the helicopter perched on the stern of the yacht and we went airborne in the direction of the local landing strip. Since my escort--not the film commission rep--spoke no English and sported a side-arm of considerable caliber, I allowed myself to be bustled onto a small jet bearing military markings which took off without awaiting clearance from whomever might have been authorized to give it.
It has been a long, long time since I have enjoyed such vast quantities of Beluga caviar and the Champagne that was laid on was without equal. It is probably one of the few times such offerings were served up in the rooms that I visited and I can only imagine what the previous guests were provided during their stay. I wonder if they, too, were offered such attractive tax incentives and service facility discounts, but I suppose we'll never know. By the end of the evening, which was actually the next afternoon, I was returned via ambulance to the military jet and whisked back to Cannes. Later, I loitered in the bar at the Hôtel du Cap and attempted to sell my newly acquired shares in the Turkmenistan film consortium to anyone who would take them.