Sep 29 2010 by
Categories : Culture

A tale of two film festivals, in star gazing, hot restos, and party It spots.

This festival, Laura deCarufel and Jennifer Lee, the co-editors of
Hardly magazine
, had the high honour of reporting from TIFF’s coolest films, parties, and events. Stay tuned for our wrap-up coverage this week, including our favourite moments from the festival! This spring and fall, Jenn and I covered two very different film festivals. Cannes was a
très surreal experience—the festival took over the town, with men in tuxedos and women in ballgowns lined up along the Croisette looking for stars, and hoping for tickets (Typical homemade sign: "Wall Street 2!!! S’il vous plait?") We took the train in every morning from Vallauris, where we had rented an apartment, and joined the crush of journalists waiting in line for films and press conferences. We saw some great movies (
Blue Valentine and
Heartbeats by Quebec wunderkind Xavier Dolan), and some terrible ones (Woody Allen’s
You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger.) We saw stars on the red carpet, at the nightly parties, and on the street (Naomi Watts, the incredible Mathieu Amalric). We stayed out until 5, then watched George Clooney’s Nespresso commercials while eating steak and scrambled eggs as the sun came up. To say we had the time of our lives is to understate.
We loved TIFF too. Jenn and I both live in Toronto, so covering the festival here was a different, though equally whirlwind, experience. (Check out our recent 
TIFF coverage, and stay tuned tomorrow for our favourite moments from the festival.) In the meantime, read on for select highlights from both festivals.

Celeb hot spot

TIFF: Soho House The temporary outpost of the ultra-exclusive private club set up shop in an ultra-chic space on Spadina (think exposed brick and polished wood floors). It had all the hallmarks of a real VIP destination—the entrance was down an alley, there was a brand-new foosball table—without any of the attitude. Inside, there was a table laden with delicious food  (prosciutto, olives and crusty bread), and a dancefloor that attracted the likes of Dominic Cooper, Gemma Arterton, and Michael Sheen. Other celeb guests included Steve Coogan, (my crush) Zach Galifianakis, and Aaron Paul, the recent Emmy winner and star of
Breaking Bad.

Cannes: The Le Baron outpost Le Baron, the Paris nightspot helmed by cool-kid André Saraiva, took over a hotel just off the Croisette and made it the It spot to be every night (quite a feat, considering that there was also a nightly 
Variety party). Hipster royalty ruled—
Purple‘s Caroline Gaimari DJ’ed one night; another evening, 
Jalouse magazine hosted The Black Lips. We spotted a luminous Marion Cotillard and then a grumpy Lindsay Lohan (who looked at least 37). LiLo disappeared into the Pianoke Room, the tiny VIP area which featured a pianist leading stars and supermodels in impassioned versions of classics from 
Les Misérables and 
Kiss of the Spiderwoman.

Favourite post-gala restaurant

TIFF: The Counter The city’s A-list restos—ONE, Nota Bene, Splendido—were in fine form during TIFF, but The Counter, the 24-hour diner at the Thompson Toronto, was easily the most fun place to grab a bite at 2 a.m. White stretch limos and orange cabs lined up outside, while inside, servers in checkered shirts and bowties took orders for homey favourites like mac ‘n’ cheese and BLTs. (I was a BLT loyalist until a friend made a convincing case for the grilled cheese. The resulting struggle was my version of
90210‘s Kelly vs. Brenda, with the grilled cheese emerging as a slight favourite.) Whichever side of the sandwich divide you found yourself on, TIFF made one thing clear: The Counter has emerged as Toronto’s top spot for late-night cuisine.

Cannes: Da Laura, 04 93 38 40 51 The financial pressures of travelling can make you absolutely certain that you’ll be able to curb your laziest impulses. $20 a day? A completely realistic budget. Breakfast? We’ll split a banana. Refreshments? That’s what water fountains are for. Really? 
No. Jenn and I kept up the pretense for almost a day, until we spotted the beautiful Da Laura restaurant on the rue d’Antibes, just a block or so from the Croisette. Within minutes, we were sitting on the patio, deciding between the house salad and the ravioli with truffles (guess which won out?) Inside, the restaurant was even more amazing—the ceiling is covered in a "floral installation" of wild grasses and rare orchids.

Most amazing party venue

TIFF: Ray Civello’s home for the
FILLER/Aveda party for
The Bang Bang Club It takes something pretty spectacular to lure guests (600 of them) to the north end of the city during the film festival, but Ray Civello’s Bridle Path home may as well have been a magnet on the night of its TIFF party. The house is a minimalist masterpiece, with all-glass walls and a pool area framed by evergreens. Ryan Philippe and Malin Akermann, the stars of
The Bang Bang Club, circulated among the crowd, as servers offered tiny turkey burgers and, toward the end of the night, a shot glass of milk topped with a chocolate chip cookie.
Cannes: The Villa Schweppes at Hôtel Belles-Rives for the all-day Colette party When Colette, the incredible Parisian concept shop, has a Cannes party, you find a way to get there—even if your journey involves asking 101 people for directions and a half-hearted attempt at hitchhiking. We arrived at the Hôtel Belles-Rives just after lunchtime to find a cerulean blue sky meeting the Mediterranean, and a crowd of the coolest people this side of
Purple hanging out on the hotel’s patio, beach and boardwalk. We stepped out onto the terrace, just as the first chords of  
"I Need a Dollar" by Aloe Blacc (the theme song for
How to Make It in America) started playing, and helped ourselves to chilled lobster salad and glasses of
vin blanc. André Saraiva graffitied up our Colette T-shirts, and we attended a mixology class with a bartender who looked like Vincent Cassel. Not for one moment did we take our luck for granted. (This 
video gives an amazing sense of the party.)

Read more of our TIFF journal!
At the film festival’s best party: 5 Reasons why the Vanity Fair bash was TIFF’s top fete
Meeting Sally Hershberger: Seven questions for the world’s top hair stylist
At the Nikki Beach lingerie fashion show
Meet Katie Boland: Our pick for Canada’s sweetheart on TIFF style, rappers and
Daydream Nation
The ultimate film festival playlist: A top Toronto DJ picks 11 tunes for 11 nights of TIFF madness
At the Black Swan gala: Inside the exclusive premiere of the fashion set’s most anticipated film of the year
The festival’s A-list drink:
Black Swan
as a blackberry cocktail. Why not?
Beauty 911: Expert tips on looking rested, refreshed, and camera-ready
Skin care 911: Healthy skin tips during TIFF madness
Snaps from last night’s best party
Meet Lauren Lee Smith: In conversation with one of Canada’s coolest acting talents
Day 1: At the Aveda Experience Centre and the Bell Lightbox
On pre-festival party duty: At Birks and 99 Sudbury

Categories: Culture