1. THE DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDREL
Found: Glad-handing at the Carlton lobby bar.
Drink: Whatever he orders on your tab (likely some brightly colored French liqueur no one can pronounce).
Transpo: Knowing all the back alleys and secret entrances, he needs no transportation other than his own confidence.
Male, suit and tie, impeccably coiffured hair, bad teeth and worse accent. He is at all the best parties, knows all the VIPs and appears wealthy yet pays only in charm. He has been to Cannes more years than you have been alive, and claims to have had the penultimate affair with the courtesan whose you-know-whats inspired those domes atop the Carlton.
He has a running inside joke with Alec Baldwin - when they see each other they point crooked fingers skyward, make silly faces, and crack up, never exchanging a word.
He is not on IMDB yet has a squadron of horrendous yet passionate movie pitches on hand, perhaps invented on the spot. If you hear: "It's an erotic thriller about the blind and big-calved wife of the rotary phone inventor who had an affair with Mussolini," you are likely in the presence of The Scoundrel.
Maybe he's for real, maybe not. Either way, people don't mind, as often the loftiest goal of this type of grifter is to make the griftee feel so satisfied with the unique experience, they don't mind paying his way at all.
2. THE SHORTS CORNER WHIPPERSNAPPER
Found: The Petit Majestic street party, the go-to for those without a go-to.
Drink: Whatever's free. He eats and drinks purely for survival.
Transpo: Easy Jet or Ryanair, back seat middle, still excited.
One of the more numerous Croisette creatures, this rookie is spotted by his go-getter 'tude and the plumage of a Fedora hat and a moustache, likely coming from his nest in Williamsburg or Silver Lake.
Thousands of them each year plan to molt right into a Polanski or even a Spielberg. "Why shouldn't it be me?" he thinks. Many truly believe non 'Snappers will actually watch their short film, read their script, fund their feature, feed their boundless enthusiasm. Désolé!
Yes, one or two will make it, maybe even become the next Benh Zeitlin, the next Ryan Coogler. Most, however, will never again return to the azure shores, making way for the next wave of 'Snappers.
Some survival tips to the financially strapped 'Snappers: when in France, drink Rose - it's cheaper than water. Cell phones - the Palais is convenient but Orange is cheaper. And don't EVER refer to the French police as the oui oui patrol.
3. MONSIEUR IS NOT POSSIBLE
Found: Wherever you most want to go, right in the way.
Drink: Get 27 mixed with the tears of those who can't get into The Weinstein Party.
Transpo: Big man, tiny car.
Like American Express, he is everywhere you want to be. However, he doesn't take American Express or any other type of bribe. The makeup of the species looks like a cross between a muscle mag subscriber and an Armenian hitman. His female counterpart compensates for the lack of roided up pecs with a "list" you are not on, a long nose from which to look down upon you, and an even longer index finger evolved over generations of "Is Not Possibles" to give the heartbreaking wag. He will make sure, no matter who invited you and how many levels of invitations you have, it "Is Not Possible" for you to enter.
There are ways around this territorial species, yet I cannot divulge my secrets beyond walking in "with" the band, or managing to photobomb the VIP list and then hoping they haven't already let a Mister Tarantino enter.
However, as much as I loathe to encounter this species, when I have my own party at Cannes one day, I will go immediately to them to make sure riffraff like me are kept out. Until then...
4. THE CHIC SHEIK
Found: Helicoptering from one side of his yacht to the other.
Drink: 101 magnums of your most expensive champagne because a rival Sheik ordered 100.
Transpo: An orange Maybach, an orange Lamborghini, and an orange G-Class Mercedes, all three of which must be parked up front.
This desert variatal has adapted with a bank account the size of Texas to survive even the harshest fluctuations in air conditioning at Eden Roc Hotel, where he occupies every suite but Harvey's. He has also grown G4 wings to migrate at the drop of a keffiyah to more amenable locales. He has nothing to do with film, just enjoys being a star amongst stars, which is for anyone who can afford it. Which means it is for him only.
Surrounded by flocks of Eastern European ladies with flamenco legs, he has a yacht but prefers his suite. At over 300 feet, his yacht is too large to enter the Cannes area, plus he would never mingle with those "teeny" things, so he keeps it at the deeper port of Antibes with the Russian oligarchs and Microsoft founders.
His bills can easily total six figures at nightclubs like Gotha and Baoli, and if he can't drink all that champagne at least he can spray it. Lucky passers-by might have the best champagne of their lives by simply looking skyward and opening their mouths. Our Chic Sheik gives a whole new meaning to "making it rain."
5. THE DEALMAKER
Found: The Majestic Hotel bar holding court in blue velvet chairs.
Drink: Cafe. Strong Cafe.
Transpo: She doesn't need any. She hasn't moved from her comfy chair since the spec sales heyday of the 90's.
Finally someone who actually has a real career in the movie business! Dressed smartly, she aims to prove William Goldman wrong in his "nobody knows anything" description of the film industry, turning it into, at least, "somebody's gotta know something." She is that somebody.
Whether it is listening to new pitches, closing coproduction deals with cash-rich foreign countries, finding the next "Taken," fielding calls from L.A., waiting for the trades to announce the new film fund she closed, or walking away from deals others would kill for, she is an eagle, with an assistant or three circling at all times, oiling the parts, keeping the coffee and the meetings flowing. All of those movies you see advertised on the side of Croisette hotels, this is where they were born. When she returns to L.A. she'll continue the pace with talent meetings at Chateau Marmont, make a movie or three, hope for the best, then start all over again.
She sits with a cocked head and clasped hands as the chosen few get a handful of minutes to wow her with a pitch. She murmurs throughout, never letting her cards show. She discovered all of those guys, Spike and Mike and the rest, and she can do the same to you! All you have to do is get to that table just a few feet from where you stand at the bar, contemplating which €20 drink has more bang for your buck and counting your blessings. So close, yet so far away. Good luck!
6. THE UMBRELLA MAFIOSO (AKA - THE STREET VENDOR)
Found: In the rain, every 30 feet along the Croisette on your way to the Palais.
Drink: If it's worth anything it's for sale, so he'll only hold a drink in a refreshing manner to demonstrate the refreshingness of it.
Transpo: Though he sports his country's traditional garb, with all of the standing around he needs comfort, which means good ole Nike's.
Cannes 2013 was especially soggy. Everyone grumbled about it (and grumbling from the South of France, of course, falls on deaf ears to those grinding away back home). But, where we see misery, he sees opportunity. Forgot your umbrella? He is there. I don't care how good a negotiator you are, he will best you. When he says the umbrella costs €30, and you say €20, he looks at you standing there, the raindrops dangling from your eyelashes and dripping from your nose, and says simply, "It is raining. €30." Of course, the umbrellas break after a good strong wind but that's beside the point.
And when the sun comes, he's armed with beach hats a plenty, a board full of knockoff sunglasses and a friendly smile. One can only hope that, after raking it in from unprepared movie execs and Whippersnappers, he decides to return the love by investing back in film. But the reality is this creature is just too smart for that.
If you find yourself lacking an entertainment attorney in a pinch, maybe you should bring this opportunist to the table. You'll have your three-picture deal negotiated in no time flat. As a bonus, everyone at the aforementioned table will walk away with sweet new shades, large hats and wacky dancing stuffed animals.
7. THE COUTURE CAT BURGLER
Drink: Armand de Brignac champagne, which he charges to the Underhills.
Transpo: A grappling hook and a hotel maid uniform.
Cannes was rocked and (let's be honest) titillated this year after a $1 million-plus Chopard jewelry heist that happened, suspiciously, the same day that Sofia Copola's "Bling Ring" played, followed by a second even larger theft. Were they connected? Who did it? Was it fake Psy? Was it an inside job? Or did our character scale the chiseled walls of five-star hotels, make away with millions, and is now laundering the loot through the casino system in nearby Monaco?
The CCB has the most expensive taste in history. She is a limber and stunning creature, as beautiful if not more so than the starlets she targets. Chopard, upon seeing the necklace on her neck, might even forgive her. But as bright as the plumage is on this slender lass, she is also able to camouflage and blend into any environment.
She has nothing to do with the movie industry, other than identifying a rich target, but the movie industry likely will have something to do with her. It was the greatest film pitch of 2013. Mr. Soderbergh, consider pushing your retirement: "Oceans 14," Ocean's gang versus the great Belgian Inspector Hercule Poirot, at the Cannes Film Festival. The starlets will be wearing the world's most expensive jewelry, and if Pitt and Clooney can't remove the jewelry using their usual persuasions, our svelte swindler will swipe it during the distraction.
I am happy to write up the treatment for you :)
Oh yeah, and the rest. Let's not forget the people who are actually doing business, selling our movies, providing the industry with capital, making it happen. The sales agents, the hustling producers, the visionary directors, the usual and the unusual suspects, all of those who truly believe in the importance of film. At the end of the day they are not as stereotypical as the above, probably because they are real people doing real work and the reason this whole circus can go on. A tip of the beret, a rev of the Bugatti V-16 to you, my dear sirs and gentlewomen. Keep it real. Or, as the case may be in the movies, unreal.