Cannes 2009: Liberty, Egalite, But No Electricty!

The Cannes Film Festival has seen some fireworks onscreen but is starting to lack power where it matters most: at the generators. French workers are striking one of the nation's power suppliers and power is being cut throughout Cannes grid by grid. So far, they've spared the main buildings where the festival is held. But market screenings throughout the city have been cancelled here and there. Other stores -- like FNAC, an electronics store deluged with festgoers both day and night -- were turning people away as recently as one hour ago. It's a 24 hour strike and should end some time tonight, hopefully without affecting the black tie premiere of Pedro Almodovar's "Broken Embraces," which received a ho-hum reception from critics this morning.


Strikes are no stranger to Cannes. One year, people were lining up to empty every ATM in sight of cash because the security guards who guard the people who bring the cash to the ATMs were on strike. Money was literally becoming scarce. That strike lasted the entire festival.

And anyone foolish enough to travel on Tuesday (like me) faces another strike: rail-workers are joining countless others nationwide in a 24 hour walk-out to voice their displeasure with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Hey, someone should make a film about all those strikes. Too bad they won't be able to screen them in Cannes until the strike is over.

Still think Cannes is glamorous? Check out this unidentified reporter who is writing a story while balancing his laptop on a motorcycle parked along the main Croissette.