So they booed Marie Antoinette. They sat in their seats and hooted and whistled and cat-called and slow-clapped. It felt as though the audience was providing the ending that Sofia Coppola was too decorous to show, bringing down the guillotine on a rather silly, spoilt little film.
'More Paris Hilton than Paris,' quipped Screen International, which sounds about right. Marie Antoinette is a poodle-brained period fancy. Part curtsy, part style spread, it tells the tale of a beautiful queen and the lovely parties she attends. If ever a movie deserved to be thrown to the mob, it is this one.
The fact remains, however, that booing at Cannes tends not to make a blind bit of difference to a film's chances. The festival crowd can be an excitable bunch. They hiss with theatrical rage and roar with flamboyant approval. But one has the sense that they are largely putting on a show for their own amusement. For all their blood and thunder, their influence on the jury is minimal. Dancer in the Dark was famously booed to the rafters a few years back. It duly went on to win the Palme d'Or.
On the beach the bathers are spooked by the arrival of a camel. It transpires that the camel is the special guest of the Dubai film party. As is normally the case with special guests, the animal shows up with a peeved and long-suffering air. Wordlessly he lets us know that he is here out of duty, and not because he's our friend.
At night we sit on the terrace and watch a dazzling firework display from the hill above Cannes. It goes on forever, an explosion of noise and colour. At first we think it must be something to with the camel. Then we realise that we are witnessing, from afar, the official party for Marie Antoinette, the film that everyone thought was already dead and gone. Up on the hill the guests appear to be in a celebratory mood. Perhaps they know something we don't.