- Are you interviewing Isabelle Huppert?
- No, I just want a Carlton maid!
It's not what you think... only the title of a chronicle about the 1981 Cannes Film Festival by Guy Hocquenghem, a journalist at Libération.
The latter is in conflict with his director Serge July, reproaching him for having given up the new journalism that Libération used to incarnate. The newspaper now wants to be read by the other newspapers, by the institutions, by the authority in charge in the person of François Mitterrand, new President of the Republic.
Hocquenghem lingers particularly, and strongly, on July's look (his overweight, his costumes! his cigars): the director has developped an image on the model of the press mogul from Citizen Kane.
He decides to be a disturber, criticizing the editorial line, and calls not to respect the tranquility of the readers.
He does not attend any festival screening, finding that Cannes is no more than a confrontation of author films, worthy of a leftist cinematheque, and of television broadcasts on wide screen.
The soundtrack of the festival-goers' conversations already reflects disappointment at the future result.
In absence of the Americans, Cannes deflated, Cannes had heart ache. The left replaces the right and above all, reality has replaced fiction.
In the evening when Francisco Rosi presents his film Tre Fratelli [Three Brothers], about Italian terrorism, the pope is shot. The cinema feels cheated, stolen, it goes slower than reality.
At the Carlton reception the director attacks him:
- You want a maid?
- Yes, I would like another view of the festival.
- Impossible, we have forbidden our staff to answer to any reporters. You understand: scandal press...
- "Oh, Monsieur!" all press is scandalous.
The maid is definitely more difficult to find than any supposed star.
Left or not, silence is at the Carlton.
I have a friend from Paris-Match who lives in a maid's corner on the top floor of the hotel. Perhaps could he intrigue... I'll end up interviewing anyone, let's say the CEO of Gaumont. It seems that the power quarrels between left groups for the control of cinema have already begun. It will always be easier than finding a maid.
Guy Hocquenghem @ Libération - May 18th, 1981
* The Palm d'Or goes to Andrzej Wajda for his movie Iron Man.