Cannes is a gathering place of world-class actors and genius directors. However, it can get quite tiresome seeing the same celebrities gracing their presence nearly every year. For example, Nicole Kidman has appeared in so many festivals over the recent years that she has basically become a household name in Cannes. As for me, I am personally more interested in people behind the scenes; directors, cinematographers, etc.
Abbas Kiarostami deserves special mention for being an extraordinary mind behind movies. I have had the fortune of meeting him twice before in Cannes and we ended up spending quite some time together. Before his death he was in the main jury of Cannes 'Un Certain Regards' and was even a part of the main jury in short films. When I was writing about him, I felt really bad because I never got to take a picture with him. Even though I have had personal experience with him I just couldn't share it with others as well as I could have. I don't take pictures and don't like taking pictures. Yet I find myself forgetting to ask for autographs or take a memorable photograph whenever I come across an international celebrity. Such was an incidence at this year's Cannes.
Even though Abbas Kiarostami cannot be in my meeting list anymore, I managed to come across two other brilliant directors: Alfonso Cuarón, in his masterclass session, and Alejandro González Iñárritu, who also attended the same event. When I attended the masterclass, I realized that all great minds really do think alike. As soon as the masterclass had ended, there was a rush of people wanting to take photographs with Alfonso or get his autographs. When I told him that I wanted to take a photo with him and that I couldn't get on the stage because of the crowd of people, he asked me, “Are you from Tagore country?” Instantly the love I felt for him increased tenfold. He knows Rabindranath, which automatically established a connection between us. He told me himself that he would come to me, and after walking off the crowd, he voluntarily took a photo with me. Later on, Iñárritu came up to me and took a photo with me too! I would say that this was one of the most memorable experiences I had in my years of visiting Cannes. Alfonso and Iñárritu are good friends in real life and tend to share their ideas together, which ties in to how their ideas tend to correlate. Iñárritu was hard to recognize at first because he had put on weight. I actually had to ask others to find out if it was him or not!
All these wonderful encounters made the 70th Cannes Film Festival more special to me. I truly did not expect to build such fond memories there, but now that I have, I know I will cherish these experiences forever.
By Rafi Hossain