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Monday, 14 May, 2001, 11:36 GMT 12:36 UK
Once bitten, always smitten
BBC News Online's Rebecca Thomas sits back to enjoy the champagne lifestyle at Cannes, in our festival diary, which continues all week.

Sitting on a yacht in the glorious surroundings of Cannes harbour, I decided life could not get much better.

The nautical treat was the crowning glory to my brief spell on the French Riviera and was itself soon to be cut short with my flight home drawing near.

The reason for this elevation to the champagne lifestyle was that I was enjoying the hospitality of BBC News Online's forum guest at Cannes, film-maker John McCormack.

John is not used to the high life. But he scraped together the pennies to hire the yacht as an office while trying to get a distribution deal for his feature Daddy Fox.

John McCormack
John McCormack raises his glass to Cannes
This is by no means considered flashy at the Cannes Film Festival. Hotel rooms are snapped up months in advance. Meetings in bars and restaurants are just too noisy and easily overheard.

Still, if you walk along the jetty, past all these gleaming, floating havens, there seems little evidence of serious business discussion going on.

Raucous guffawing and well-lubricated high jinks are more the order of the day. The woman on the boat next to John's had thrown caution to the Mediterranean wind and was singing on the deck at the top of her voice.

Just who she was trying to entertain was not clear. But at least she was having a good time, judging by her Cheshire cat grin and windmill gesturing.

yacht
This is the life...
Two boats down, a group of young men were scaring the seagulls with their fog horn shouts, while swinging Tarzan-like from the bars supporting their vessel's upper deck.

Such extravagant behaviour may become almost routine during the festival but it never loses its charm.

Many people return year after year just for the sheer hell it - so intoxicating is the vibrancy of Cannes at this time.

A visit to a sale reinforced this belief. Film archivist William Serir has been a fixture at the festival for 20 years.

Perfect portrait

His makeshift store is an Aladdin's Cave of movie prints and posters going back to the 30s.

Name a film, and Monsieur Serir is pretty sure to have a great shot. Pick your favourite movie star and he will present you with the perfect portrait to frame.

Monsieur Serir says he loves the festival and will be back next year. Meanwhile, this year's festivities continue full pace next week.

And the lucky winner of the Palme d'Or will no doubt end up amongst Monsieur Serir's collection.


Festival diary

Films in focus

The lowdown

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