Cannes, France – Wes Anderson has been waiting for a long time “French Dispatch” To premiere at the Cannes Film Festival.
The star-studded comedic anthology about the final issue of “The French Dispatch,” a literary magazine, was due to debut here last year, until the pandemic stopped the festival from being held. Instead of putting his film out tentatively, Anderson kept it for another year, and at Monday night’s glitzy Cannes premiere, he finally got his wish.
Also did a film festival. Cannes primarily focuses on autistic worship and movie stars, and “The French Dispatch” offered a plethora of help from both. Cast members, including Timothée Chalamet, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Benicio del Toro and Owen Wilson, all came out in support of Anderson’s film, which is almost certainly the biggest film premiere that has been held since the pandemic began.
Cannes responded in kind, and audiences at the Grand Théâtre Lumiere offered “The French Dispatch” a nine-minute standing ovation after the closing credits rolled. These epic-length celebrations of applause are one of the festival’s most famous quirks, but to outsiders, the ovation should be shocking: Do the audience really stand up and clap? Won’t he get old soon?
Using last night’s Standing O for “The French Dispatch” as a minute-by-minute model, I explain how the Cannes standing ovation works. It’s a cheerleader that Anderson will have been anticipating for over a year, even if it looked like he wanted to end it as soon as it started.
in 1 second: The credits end, the lights go on, and the enthusiastic audience gets on their feet. A cameraman runs into the middle of the theater, where Anderson and his cast are seated. As he films them, the image is simultaneously broadcast on Lumiere’s big screen, drawing the applause of the crowd even further.
6 seconds in: Although Anderson has risen from his seat, the rest of his cast is clearly seated. Panicked, he tries to persuade them to stand by him, but the actors hold fast: they want Anderson to have his own moment where he can be commended for his work.
In 36 seconds: Half-Minute Praise is about all that the clearly uncomfortable Anderson can stand. To his right are Chalamet and actress Lena Khoudri, who plays French revolutionaries in the film, and Andersen begs them to stand by. They begin, but when Chalamet looks around and sees that no other actors are up, he remains in his seat.
In 45 seconds: Murray stands up and points to the cheering audience. You can see the rest of the cast doing a mental calculation: “Well, if Bill Murray is going to stand up, I guess it’s time to get up.” They all get up.
In 1 minute and 10 seconds: Murray took out a fan and began blowing cool air to his director. Hey, if the standing ovation is going to last several minutes, you might as well sprinkle in some comic bits to pass the time.
In 1 minute and 30 seconds: Actor Matthew Amalric took out his iPhone and began recording video of the cast. Fitting, since everyone else at Lumiere has an iPhone trained in it too.
In 1 minute and 50 seconds: Swinton goes down the line of her co-stars, giving Del Toro and Adrien Brody double kisses on the cheek. Let me try to describe Swinton’s outfit, which consists of a satin pink blouse, bright green sleeves, and an orange skirt: She looks like the most glamorous fruit plait you’ve ever seen.
in 2 minutes: How can a standing ovation last two minutes at Cannes? Here’s the trick: The Lumiere cameraman, previously recording a detailed shot of the actors, now moves on to a continuous close-up of each actor. This allows the audience to give each artist their own round of applause, and is the reason why Cannes films with large ensemble casts get long ovations.
In 2 minutes and 20 seconds: While the camera is panning from Amalric’s close-up to Khoudri, Brody races from his place at the very end of the cast lineup and is where the action takes place. He hugs Amalric, who is at the front of the line, and the camera pulls back to cover him.
In 2 minutes and 37 seconds: Now Chalamet gets her close-up. “Thank you,” says Chalamet, as the audience applauds wildly. He then points to Anderson and encourages the cameraman to film him.
In 2 min 55 sec: Anderson stands beside Wilson and seems utterly nostalgic for half a minute of the audience’s prolonged attention. The camera instead locates Cannes legend Swinton, who is here in three films this year. Though he’s a seasoned supporter in accepting a standing ovation, Swinton didn’t shake his head and pointed to his director. Eventually, she takes the initiative and pushes the camera towards Anderson.
In 3 minutes and 23 seconds: The cameraman holds onto a close-up of Anderson, who whispers and cheers on another round to the exhausted crowd. But it is clear that the director does not know what to do with himself when he is the sole focus of the frame. He is saved by the undead, who comes for another hug.
In 3 minutes and 53 seconds: Brody leans in to kiss Anderson on the cheek and tousles his hair. We are not even half done with this.
In 4 minutes and 30 seconds: Swinton takes the taped “Tilda Swinton” placard from her seat and affixes it to the back of Chalamet’s silver jacket. We have reached the improv-comedy part of the night.
In 5 minutes and 25 seconds: After locating del Toro at the end of the lineup of actors, the cameramen have now fulfilled their obligation to have each performer have their own solo session of applause. So will the ovation continue? to do a mischief. The camera turns back to Chalamet, who hides his face with a “Tilda Swinton” sign. Swinton snatches it from his hands and re-taped it on his back, where it belongs.
In 5 minutes and 50 seconds: Now embracing Brody, Chalamet turns to the camera and makes “La Fingers” Hand gesture. Brody is having a very serious kiss for the camera.
In 6 minutes and 5 seconds: Yes, we’re leaving in minute 6. Anderson takes out a pink handkerchief and wipes his brow. He appears tearful.
In 6 minutes and 35 seconds: Chalamet turns to Anderson and bows in an “I’m not worthy” salute. The applause starts blinking a little. It’s time to bring out the big guns.
In 7 minutes and 7 seconds: Anderson is given a microphone. He wins and tries to shoo her away, but the Cannes officials stash it in their hands anyway.
In 7 minutes and 15 seconds: Anderson, who lives in Paris, begins speaking to the audience in French. He calls the premiere “Un honor por moi,” but seven seconds after that, he turns to Chalamet and crackles in English, “I don’t know what else to say.” The audience laughs and Anderson says, “I hope we come back with another one soon. Thanks a lot.”
In 7 minutes and 30 seconds: Anderson’s brief speech was enough to revive the crowd, and the applause returns to its initial levels.
In 7 minutes and 50 seconds: Many French-pronounced “Bravo!” Anderson tucks his long hair behind his ears and scans the audience.
In 8 minutes and 24 seconds: Murray turns to Anderson and suggests that he be ready to leave. Anderson couldn’t possibly agree more, running down the aisle so fast that he collided with the cameraman, who is still filming him.
In 8 minutes and 40 seconds: The cameraman seems to have blocked Anderson’s path. He won’t leave that easily! Instead, Anderson is forced to stand in the aisle and absorb even more applause and encouraging whistles from the crowd. The expression on his face is somewhere between a strange grin and pure, stunned joy, which is what a nearly nine-minute standing ovation will do for you.
9 minutes in: The cameraman relents and lets Anderson move on. As the director and his cast leave the theatre, the cheering subsides at the end. The French run outside to smoke, Americans run outside to tweet, and in a few different languages, I hear a plaintive question: “Is there a party?”