The Cannes film festival is not just about killings made on big-money movie deals sealed over champagne in hotel suites and on luxury yachts.
It is a goldmine too for many locals in the French Riviera resort.
“For my boss the festival is the goose that lays golden eggs,” a hotel receptionist called Herve told AFP.
The proof, he declared, is that a room in his two-star hotel goes “from 40 euros ($45) a night to 260” as soon as the red carpet is rolled out.
It is not the only establishment to rake it in when the population of the town almost triples for the festival.
A few minutes walk away, the price of a room in a rival three-star hotel rockets five times from 71 euros a night to 350 — without breakfast.
“The six rooms that we put aside for the very last minute will be filled very rapidly” at the very top price, said the receptionist at the hotel, which is officially fully booked.
Even if the four days in March when MIPIM, the world’s leading property congress, is held in Cannes are more profitable day-for-day for the conference town, the film festival fortnight with its 40,000 accredited movers and shakers is on an entirely different scale.
- Town makes $200 million –
For hotels close to the giant Palais des Festivals, where the red carpet premieres are held, the festival accounts for nearly a sixth of their annual turnover, said the Cannes hoteliers union, UMIH.
The festival was worth an astonishing 197 million euros to the town in 2017, according to official municipal figures.
Even so, hoteliers insist there is still room for improvement.
“Everything fills up for the first week of the festival but the second is more difficult,” said Christine Welter of UMIH.
“For several years now people are not staying as long as they did,” she added.
She also warned that “the cards are also being reshuffled” by the possible defection of people working with Netflix, whose films are barred from competing in the festival because it refuses to release them in French cinemas.
“When suddenly demand falls the market has to adjust,” Welter cautioned, pointing the finger of blame partly at what she regards as the unfair competition of people letting out their homes and apartments.
Just as many homes in Cannes are being rented now out as hotel rooms — “6,000 of each,” she revealed.
- Locals cashing in –
It has become something of a racket, Welter complained, with some people renting out several flats.
Airbnb alone claims between 2,500 and 4,000 arrivals a night, peaking with 4,600 on Friday May 17 — nearly 10 times the number of Cannes homes it is handling on the Friday before the festival.
With that amount of fast money to be made, “some locals don’t think twice about going and sleeping in a campsite along the coast so they can rent their places out for a fortune,” quipped Herve, the hotel receptionist.
For the resort’s restaurants — some of whom put up their prices — the festival is also a boon.
“May is the biggest month in the year for us: the place is jammed.We can do 5,000 covers in 11 days,” said Pascal Hamard, who runs an Italian restaurant.
However, he has noticed a drop off in recent years, which he blames on people trying to cash in.
“You feel some of the clientele have become ultra suspicious and are worried about being ripped off,” the restaurateur added, with taxis and hotels hiking up their rates.
“Now people coming to Cannes for the festival are more careful — we can feel that they have been warned by their bosses — and budgets are that much tighter,” Hamard said.
MOVIE REVIEW – Living in Bondage (Rating: 7/10)
If you are sceptical about seeing Living in Bondage: Breaking Free, it will be more than understandable. The Nigerian movie industry has spent much of its time making films bordering on the occult and rituals, many of which are overdrawn, overplayed, bland, and rather off-putting. And the Living in Bondage sequel was always going to centre on that. But this sequel to the 27-year-old original isn’t just about getting mystical, and is worth the promise of debuting director Ramsey Nouah, and the hype.
Breaking Free centres on Nnamdi Okeke (Swanky JK), who’s lost his job and has dreams of the luxury life. Breaking Free stands quite apart from the first film of 1992, but there are still correlations and some verisimilitude, Nnamdi is the son of Andy Okeke (played by Kenneth Okonkwo, who was also the star of the 1992 pic), and unlike the one centred on his father, Nnamdi isn’t exactly wallowing in penury, but rather just wants luxury.
And credit to the film for giving us a picture of Nnamdi in that way; he knows about various types of alcohol that he can’t afford and has knowledge of cars above his paygrade. For most part of the film, we see that Nnamdi isn’t so much just thirsting about the high life, but rather overawed by it; watch him arrive at a party in a Ferrari, yet marvel at a fleet of parked Rolls-Royces. See him look a bit out of place at a party, and not quite fitting in.
Nnamdi is aided into the life of affluence by, among others, Richard Williams, CEO of Zion Railways. Played by director Ramsey Nouah, Richard is the head of the spiritual group that affords people the good life (at a price), called The Brotherhood. Throughout the film, Nouah’s character is quite a standout act, introduced into the film with a round of applause, delivered by himself. There’s something of the likeable super villain about him; he’s the devil that quotes the Bible amidst lines of The Godfather, his demeanour is unchanging and unfazed.
Breaking Free has inevitable bouts of spirituality in it, but it’s all done with minimum fuss, and there’s little need for histrionics. From the spiritual conventions to Richard’s display of his powers, there’s no overplaying, those acts that usually seem out of place run well with this film (hence Richard’s cheeky ‘this isn’t Nollywood’ quote in the film).
Breaking Free thrives in many areas, not least the chemistry between characters. We see the closeness between Nnamdi and his brother Tobe (Shawn Faqua), who basically bounce of each other in scenes in which they are together. The relationship between Nnamdi and Kelly (Munachi Abii) has true chemistry, right from the off, and hardly seems forced – even the sex scene looks genuine.
Perhaps the biggest flaw of the movie is the fact that for all of its deluxe acting and directing, Breaking Free doesn’t have that much in terms of being relatable, but that’s a quite minor blot on an otherwise well-crafted work.
At the end of everything, Nnamdi realises the price of luxury is one he can’t quite pay, attempts to end it all, but doesn’t quite do it, and ends up in the hospital. Meanwhile, (some) members of The Brotherhood have been identified, but Richard is still very the unknown.
Breaking Free does a good job of not ending with closure, and keeping part of the mystery alive. Most pertinently, though, it is a good lesson on how to make a movie.
John Dumelo Calls For Legalization Of Polygamy In Ghana.
Actor and politician John Dumelo says there’ nothing wrong with polygamy hence should be legalized.
The NDC parliamentary candidate for Ayawaso constituency speaking in an interview on Citi FM’s Traffic Avenue, said that even though he would not practice the act, he thinks men who want to have more wives are at liberty to do that.
“Personally, I don’t believe in it [polygamy] but I feel that there is nothing wrong with it. If the Muslims are doing it perfectly, why not Christians? Provided you can take care of your two or three wives, that’s fine. I speak to a lot of Muslims and both the men and women are okay with it,” he said.
He also added that “…I feel it [polygamy] is good for Ghana.” he told the host of the show Jessica Saforo.
John Dumelo added that women who want to have more than one husband should also be allowed to do so because it will be discriminatory to do it for only the men.
“You can’t just do it for men. Do it for women as well…” he stated.
Yvonne Nelson, Prince David Storm Accra Streets Over ‘Fix Us’ Premiere On December 6.
Actors Yvonne Nelson and Prince David Osei were out in the streets of Accra on Monday to market Fix Us, a new movie by YN Productions about the challenges actors put up with.
Directed by Pascal Amanfo, the movie tells the story of three young ladies who take on a journey of faith and fate. When Naadie (Yvonne Nelson), Chioma (Yvonne Okoro) and Jaya (Alexandra Amon) run into each other at an audition, they are bound by their common dream to be movie stars and form a friendship that can hardly be broken.
But when their dreams are eventually actualized, they soon realise that they want even something more from life. Something more that money cannot buy. Something more that fame cannot give. Something more that they must find for themselves.
It stars Yvonne Nelson, Yvonne Okoro, Prince David Osei, Michelle Attoh and Nigeria’s Mofe Duncan. The rest include, former Big Brother Naija housemate Tobi Bakre, Jessica Williams, Belinda Dzatta, Ivorian actress, Alexandra Amon, Hajia4real and musician, Irene Logan.
It is set for a grand premiere at the Silverbird Cinemas at the Accra Mall, starting from 7pm. In the past few weeks the cast of the movie have been on various media platforms to talk about the movie.
Yvonne and Prince aside granting interviews on radio and TV also took to the street to share flyers of the movie while they also get interactive with some Ghanaians out there. They shared flyers at the Okponglo traffic light, the campuses and hostels of University of Professional Studies UPS and University of Ghana.
Omotola Jalade Receives Doctorate In Arts.
Award winning Nigerian actress, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde has bagged an honorary doctorate degree from the Igbinedion University in Benin City. The actress together with former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, amongst others, were all conferred honorary degrees by the university.
The Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Lawrence Ezemonye, in his speech said the awardees were honoured for their stellar contribution to human development and progress at both the national and international levels.
The actress took to her instagram page to thank the university for giving her the degree and showed off her certificate with the caption; “Dr Mrs Omotola Jalade Ekeinde,MFR Honorary Doctor of Arts (D.Arts) Thank you Igbinedion University Okada. To God Be all the Glory.”
(Written by: Abena Amankwah)
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