CANNES (AFP) - Torrential rain and high winds damaged the roof of a Cannes screening room, organisers said Monday, after soaked stars were left shivering on the red carpet by a freak storm at the Riviera filmfest.
French actress Isabelle Huppert was drenched as she climbed the red carpet for the Michael Haneke film “Love”, as were the cast of the Danish thriller “The Hunt”, starring heart-throb Mads Mikkelsen.
Organisers had to move two film screenings from the Salle du Soixantieme, built five years ago for the festival’s 60th anniversary, to repair a section of roofing, although the room was operational again by mid-morning. Photographers cowered under their umbrellas while staff swept water off the red-carpeted steps of the seafront festival hall, while in screening room queues, critics pushed and shoved as they sought shelter from the the downpour. “We haven’t seen such a wet red carpet since 1991,” said the deputy mayor of Cannes David Lisnard. “It doesn’t often rain on the Mediterranean, but when it does it rains buckets.”
The weather - still wet and windy on Monday - has caused the cancellation of a string of the open-air parties that are usually a highlight of the glitzy event. The fireworks display will be staged Tuesday if weather permits.
For the festival’s veteran chairman Gilles Jacob, rain is just about the worst thing that can happen to the annual event.
“The sun is indispensable for the festival to be a success, almost as much as a good turnout, a strong selection and a discerning jury,” he told AFP.
“Sunshine may be the most important ingredient because the mood depends on it. The films shown here are often tough and and comedies rare. If people come out of a depressing movie to a torrent of rain, the mood can soon turn gloomy.”
In 2010 a freak storm struck just before the festival, with giant waves sweeping away several beachfront bars. But the weather improved just in time for the event itself.