Waiting for Mick

The Cannes crush for Stones in Exile

by Brian D. Johnson

Thumbing this blog on my Blackberry while standing in line for the ‘Stones in Exile’ documentary, premiering in the Directors’ Fortnight program in Cannes. Got here 90 minutes before the start time and there was already a crowd. The movie is less than an hour long. So this must be the first time I’ll have spent more time in a movie line-up than in the movie. The attraction is that Mick Jagger will be doing a Q and A after the screening. He’s doing so little press—30 minutes rationed among 4,000 journalists—that this is our only point of access. The line is building; half a dozen cops are standing by, expecting. . . Qui sait?

The film documents the time the Rolling Stones spent in 1972, just up the road from Cannes, recording their now legendary double album, Exile on Main Street, in the dank basement of Keith Richards’ mansion amid drug deals, thefts and the sudden wedding of Mick and Bianca. The Stones are behind the film, so I assume it’s sanitized, to an extent, unlike Robert Frank’s raunchy verite doc, Cocksucker Blues. We’ll see.

It’s now 4 pm. One hour to go. I wonder if things will get ugly. . .

In other news, I had dinner with a group that included the Brit producer of a Thai film that premieres in competition Friday. He was worried the director wouldn’t make it, because his visa was stuck in the Red Zone of Thai combat. The producer said Thierry Fremault, the director of Cannes, asked him: “Would you like me to call Sarkozy?” In the end, the director got his visa without presidential intervention. But as the producer said, “What other festival director in the world could offer to do that?” For the record, for those who enjoyed the phonetic riddle of the Icelandic volcano, the Thai director is named Apichatpong Weerasethakul and his movie is Lung Boonme Raluek Chat. That’s a lot of thumbing.

4:20 p.m. More crowds. More cops. More cameras. Holy Altamont! Will Mick have the Hell’s Angels escort him through the mob?

4:35 p.m. Screams from the mob of fans and paparazzi in the street. Can’t see him but clearly Jagger has arrived. He’s now in the building; I’m not.

4:50 p.m. I’m in! Sitting next to a NY Daily News columnist who says he named his cat after Bianca Jagger. Says he knows Bianca, and she was not amused. Neither was Aretha Franklin when he named a previous cat (a fat one) after her. OK, enough live blogging. . . Later.




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