Still, it's an interesting phenomenon that extends beyond Cannes to all parts of the film industry. Spectacle. The movie is a spectacle. That's the whole point of its existence. It provides something to look at for a certain amount of time. Some films are dark and moody, leaving the spectator to ferret out whatever it is they want to see. Others are bright and constantly moving, forcing the viewer to keep up or get left behind. But that's not the spectacle I'm talking about.
I'm talking about the spectacle before and after the movie. The ever-bright red carpet itself is a beacon for seekers of spectacle, drawing them in like moths to a flame. And then there are the moths themselves. We see these people on the red carpet, dressed from head to toe in the most eye-catching duds they could find. These outfits flutter and sway, mesmerizing onlookers and photographers alike, who imagine the spectacle that must be at the end of the red carpet. The more glorious the outfits, the more spectacular the spectacle. At least that's what we imagine.
The rhinestones, the glitter, the shiny fabrics are all highlighted even more with the brightest lights imaginable, glinting off every surface, whether it is machine or human. Cars, barricades, satin gowns, diamond necklaces, even glittery makeup. It's a temporary Las Vegas strip, drawing us in with promises akin to Ali Baba's Cave of Wonders. If all this wonderful-ness is going inside, then what's inside must be magnificent. Truly.
What if there were no black-tie galas?
What if there weren't hundreds of blinding white lights to bring daylight in the dark of night?
What if there were no sparkles?
What if there were no thumping sounds of activities?
What if there were no sleek expensive sports cars rumbling alongside you?
Answer: There would be no flash-bulbs.
People would stop coming.
The spectacle would fade into banality.
And movies provide this, both inside and outside the theater. And it seems the rest of the world has followed suit. Our lives are full of spectacle, from the latest reality show to the news to everything on the internet. We look voraciously, never fully satiated. For some, this need to see sometimes spirals into a desire to see more and more graphic images, of any nature. We never tire of seeing.
At least at Cannes, most of what we're seeing is make-believe. Or at least temporary.