I've been fortunate enough to have been able to go to Cannes for the past four years now, and I'm getting ready for my fifth. And, as I often say when explaining film festivals to people who've never been to one, it's not just an adventure; it's a job. Cannes is a "get-away" the same way running from a burning building is "a tour of the grounds"; there are plenty of movies, plenty of work, and the overall emotional tone of the event is a mix of exhaustion and exhilaration. The heady moments of pure movie magic come fast and furious with the muck-and-money reality of international financing and distribution happening all about you.
Going to Cannes means seeing at least 40, maybe 50 or more movies in 10 days, never mind actually thinking and writing about them; you'd think that that kind of pace would soon turn into a blur, and it does, but it's a glorious one. Here's some of my favorite movie going moments (highly subjective, of course -- I've not included last year's ridiculously strong quartet of Persepolis, No Country for Old Men, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly and 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days, as they're still so fresh in my mind) from the past four years of the Cannes Film Festival; think of these as the rushed recollections of a film critic who knows exactly how lucky he's been.