2024 Cannes Diaries #1

Cannes Diaries – Pre-Cannes

“Being a cinephile means paying two months’ worth of minimum wage for accommodation in euros and rejoicing over free movie tickets.”

Greetings from the French Riviera!

The Cannes Diaries series, a journal written to share my experiences and feelings as a cinema enthusiast attending the Cannes Film Festival, will expand to include film analyses and detailed information about Cannes as the festival progresses.


Tickets for Cannes open for reservation four days before the film screening. Reservations are opened for specific categories based on badge level – or not opened at all. We will delve into the categories later; for now, let’s remember that the Cannes Film Festival is an event aimed exclusively at film industry professionals. For example, premieres and competition films at the Grand Theater Lumiere are reserved only for industry professionals, and entry with a non-industry badge like cinephile is only possible by “begging for an invitation” (we will discuss this more later). We haven’t lost hope yet 😊

The first day includes only the opening ceremony and Quentin Dupieux’s film “Le Deuxième Acte” (The Second Act). As for Cannes Classics, I have no intention of watching Abel Gance’s nearly four-hour-long propaganda film “Napoléon Vu Par Abel Gance.” The good news of the day is “Trainspotting” in its 4K restored version at Cinema d’Plage! Whether I can attend the opening ceremony or not, I am eagerly looking forward to being on the beach…

Tickets are sold out within minutes after reservations open at 9:00 AM. Since I can’t get tickets for the opening ceremony, I am focusing on the other days.


I am experiencing the disappointment of not being able to get tickets for any screenings on the second day of the festival. In the evening, I am revising my strategy and working on the program for the upcoming days.

Speaking of which, working on the program at Cannes is on a whole different level. I have attended numerous festivals, big and small, for 21 years. Except for Berlinale 2023, I have managed to secure tickets for every screening I planned to attend at other festivals (Berlinale also has a similar ticketing system to Cannes, where you engage in a battle every morning at 10:00 AM for tickets available two days later). Of course, you know that things at Cannes won’t be as easy as at any other festival, but instead of planning your schedule first and then getting tickets, you prepare your schedule based on the tickets you can get. So, I ended up preparing five different variations of my program for each day and shaping it according to the tickets I could secure, and I’m quite pleased with this😊

And the tickets are free – for the first time as a cinephile, I am experiencing the pride of entering films without paying, with an earned badge. (Of course, everything seems free (!) – never mind that I’m paying two minimum wages (Netherlands) for accommodation and rejoicing over free movie tickets… This must be one of the sub-definitions of a cinephile).

Airbnb > Carlton

Surprise! On a Saturday when I planned to be lazy, I learned the night before that the dress code only includes black and midnight blue outfits. I rushed to the only store open at that hour in the Netherlands. Thankfully, I found something in a short time. Packed my suitcase and closed up.

Day -2:

My strategy worked, and I managed to get tickets for five films! I boarded the plane with great joy.

With the Cannes kiosk at the airport, I immediately started getting into the festival mood…

I arrived at my Airbnb via the Cannes bus, dropped off my luggage, and headed straight to the event area. I needed to pick up my badge, but I was mesmerized by the Palais de Cannes before reaching the accreditation office. It’s an entirely different atmosphere, and as I wandered around, I realized I was late for my badge; the office had closed three minutes earlier. Snapping out of my reverie, I remembered I hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast, so I started looking for a restaurant.

The surroundings are beautiful—cafes, restaurants, producers with badges, directors, cinephiles, the press, and so on; the entire industry is here… The energy of the place is incredible. At the Palais, there is a special event by the main sponsor, Mastercard, which is, of course, only open to invited guests. After grabbing something to eat, I return to the festival area and notice the lined-up stairs.

When I asked what was happening, Raul responded, explaining that unofficial photographers had stationed themselves here and were finalizing preparations for the red carpet. After a pleasant chat, I returned to the hotel, exhausted from the day, and went to bed.

Day -1:

After winning the ticket battle at 09:00, I picked up my badge from the Croisette.

I watched the red carpet being laid out and then took a long walk along the beaches of Cannes.

I then headed to Cannes’ Film Market, Marche du Film. Inside, there was intense activity with only one day left. After a brief tour of the stands of production companies I had only seen on the big screen, I left the market.

Later, I started celebrity spotting in front of the Martinez Hotel – at least the Jury was expected to arrive today. Besides Peter Bradshaw, the Head Film Critic of The Guardian, there were a few celebrities I didn’t recognize. Oh, and I think I saw Ebru Ceylan; I couldn’t tell for sure because of her sunglasses, but she was speaking Turkish.

After enduring clouds and rain throughout the year in the Netherlands, within the span of just one hour here, under Cannes’ scorching sun, I feel like I’ve replenished a year’s worth of vitamin D. Just before heading back to the hotel across the street to freshen up, I’m jotting down these lines while grabbing a bite at the café.

The day is not over yet; the festival starts tomorrow, and I can’t seem to find words to describe my excitement! Following this personal impression piece, my posts will continue with updates, information, and analyses about films and programs as the festival kicks off tomorrow.

Note: For live photos and videos from the festival grounds, please follow our Instagram account kino_avantgarde.

To be continued : Cannes Diaries #2

Nil Birinci

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