If an alien landed in the middle of this year’s Grey Goose Party at the Cannes Film Festival, it could be forgiven for thinking that the credit crunch was a fictional plot in one of the films that the festival is showing. The event was an opulent affair that showed that movers and shakers in the movie business still know how to put on a good party, even if studios and networks are cutting budgets and pumping out cheap, derivative reality shows ad nauseam.

Chateau de la NapouleThe Cannes Film Festival began on May 13 and runs until May 24. The entire festival is a showcase for Hollywood’s elite and some not-so-famous faces who are hoping that their works attract attention. Undoubtedly, though, the Grey Goose Party (sponsored by Grey Goose Vodka) is one of the places to be seen. The 2009 party took place on May 16 at the Chateau de la Napoule (above), a restored French castle originally built in the 14th Century. The event followed on fram a charity dinner in aid of The Art of Elysium, a non-profit organization founded in 1997 to encourage working actors, artists and musicians to volunteer their time and talent to children who are battling serious medical conditions. For the Grey Goose bash the Chateau’s historic appeal was juxtaposed with all the modern indulgences expected of a party designed to attract top celebrities.

“Set in lush, picturesque grounds, the centrepiece of the Cannes party scene was a winner from the off,” journalist Chris Hewitt wrote in his blog. “In the main courtyard, candles were suspended from overhanging trees, a sumptuous buffet, with generous portions of lobster, steak, lamb and desserts to die for (and later, two succulent hog roasts), had the great and good affably forming a queue, while Grey Goose ice sculptures framing the packed bar.”

Quentin TarantinoAnd to wash that food down? Perhaps a shot of vodka poured from the limited edition range of Grey Goose bottles produced for the festival by Jacques Garcia.

Given how spectacular the setting and food were, its no wonder that stars wanted to be there. Attendees included Elizabeth Banks (Scrubs, W, Zack and Miri Make a Porno), Malin Akerman (Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, The Comeback, Watchmen), Paula Patton (Hitch, Deja Vu, This Wednesday), Quentin Tarantino (right; at Cannes promoting Inglourious Basterds), Samm Levine (Inglourious Basterds, Freaks and Geeks), Kevin Pollak (Middle Men, Shark, The Usual Suspects), Steve ‘Lips’ Kudlow and Robb Reiner.

“Just a minute,” you may say, “Who are those last two?”

Well, Kudlow and Reiner are the originators of the Canadian heavy metal band Anvil (below) that is profiled in the rockumentary Anvil! The Story of Anvil (starring Kudrow and ‘Lips’ and reviewed here). What’s more, according to Hewitt, they were the Grey Goose Party’s big draw.

AnvilThis being Cannes, there’s no telling when something will come along that tops the surreal sight of glamourous, beautiful women swarming around formerly little-known and somewhat aging Canadian rockers. Festival guests didn’t have long to wait, though. Two days after Grey Goose, Christmas came to Cannes’ Carlton Hotel thanks to a promotional display for Robert Zemeckis’ upcoming animated adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (we know what Scrooge would have thought of the Grey Goose Party). No mere poster display this, though. There was snow beneath the Carlton’s palm trees. But then Cannes is Hollywood’s festive season so why not spend a little more.

Michael Simpson is the Associate Editor of the film and TV website CinemaSpy.com and a freelance writer on a wide range of topics (CinemaSpy; Home).

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