It’s not every day you see a house, held aloft by thousands of helium balloons, floating peacefully at the end of a pier, but last night’s premiere after-party for Up was just such an occasion. A giant recreation of Carl Fredricksen’s flying house (albeit still a scale model) flew like a beacon over the Carlton Beach on Cannes’ infamous Croisette. Ticket in hand, RT strolled in to soak up the atmosphere, as the 2009 Cannes Film Festival got underway.
Of course, fresh from the red carpet premiere and dressed in tux as opposed to his trademark custom Hawaiian shirt, John Lasseter led the charge for Team Pixar with Ed Catmull, while Up director Pete Docter seemed to spend most of the night receiving praise from an increasingly-inebriated crowd of festival-goers.
Elizabeth Banks was the highest-profile name to attend and spent much of the evening laughing with Lasseter. Also present were Bollywood superstars Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan (a jury member this year) and husband Abhishek Bachchan, who floated straight to the VIP area and held court until the early hours. Middle Men star Giovanni Ribisi was more sociable, mingling with guests and generally enjoying the trip. The film he’s promoting isn’t part of the festival proper, but he’s over here to drum up interest along with co-star Kevin Pollak.
Over three large spaces, all themed around South America and the Wilderness Explorers of the film, guests were treated to free-flowing champagne and a typically French take on American food. Amongst the treats on offer were frozen yoghurt and candy floss, neither particularly becoming of a party full of tuxedo-wearing cineastes.
As the hours wore on, and guest numbers started to dwindle, RT determined to make a move lest we miss our date with Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank at 8:30 this morning, but left feeling like we’d seen the first great Cannes opener in many years.