The 68th Cannes International Film Festival begins today, with thousands of journalists, film professionals and onlookers crowded in the half-dozen-block radius of the Palais. While it's difficult to communicate the beehive-in-a-bottle quality of the festival, here are a few useful numbers as a guide.
Zero, or maybe just "fewer": No more selfies on the red carpet, declared Cannes festival chief Thierry Fremaux, who declared: "You never look as ugly as you do in a selfie." Fremaux offered some leniency: "We don't want to prohibit it, but we want to slow down the process of selfies on the steps." You're still free to take a picture of yourself on the deck of your rented yacht, in what might be called a "wealthy."
€1-million ($1.4-million): That's the price (per week) of an 88-metre yacht offered for rental during the Cannes film festival by B&Y Yachts International. With five decks, a cinema, gym, swimming pool, art gallery and hair salon, it accommodates 12 guests, and a staff of 28. The 60 or so yachts moored in the Cannes port are a relative bargain (down to under $200,000 a week) and film executives insist the boats are economical, keeping food, lodging and round-the-clock employees in one water-bound place. Also, it's a million times easier to make a deal on a yacht deck than in the lineup at the sandwich trucks outside the Palais.
Zero: That's the number of tickets available to the public for competition screenings in the Palais, where you need either a pass or invitation. As compensation, the public can watch public screenings or get a limited number of tickets at the sidebar programs. Sorry, folks, but this particular Bastille hasn't been stormed yet.
210,000: That's the population that Cannes swells to during the festival, up from its usual population of 74,000. The invaders include accredited film professionals (35,000), about 4,700 journalists and technicians and seasonal help. The rest are tourists who, perhaps, didn't get the memo about this not being a public event.
468: Number of 24-hour security cameras in Cannes, which means, even if you aren't taking your own picture, someone else is. Think of it a "stealthie." (In addition, an extra 500 cops are added to the police force for the festival for security. It may not be enough, though, judging by the next item ...)
$136-million (U.S.): The value of the loot taken during a jewel heist at the Carlton Intercontinental Hotel in Cannes back in 2013. Each year, jewellery companies send their best products down to the Riviera to adorn the movie stars. Some of it doesn't come back. Coincidentally, the junket for the Sofia Coppola movie The Bling Ring took place in the same hotel that day. The tradition unfortunately lives on, as last Tuesday, a week before the festival, thieves made off with about $20-million (U.S.) worth of goods from a Cartier boutique on the Croisette.
€20-million: That's the annual budget of the Cannes festival. In other words, the jewel heist money from the past two years would pay for more than half a dozen film festivals, or a couple of spins around the globe on one of those luxury yachts. The best-protected part of Cannes is the films, though: Even a couple of hundred million won't get you into a competition screening without a pass or invitation.