The Lord of the Rings - Cannes Coverage

Last Update: 16 May 2001


16 May 2001


Jaded hack is dazzled by Rings party

By Victor Olliver in Cannes

Along with about 150 other media hacks, Teletext was bussed to the Chateau de Castelleras in Mougins for the Lord Of The Rings party.

It would be fair to say that even this cynical and jaded correspondent was overwhelmed by the magical opulence of the shingdig. I have never seen anything like it.

The 150-year-old chateau had been converted into a Middle Earth simulacrum from LOTR movie sets specially imported from New Zealand at huge expense.

Against the bluish and luminous mists in the hills of Mouans Sartoux, Tolkien's world of Hobbits was brought to vivid life.

Everywhere you looked were giant ogres or human costumed characters such as Galadriel or Gandalf.
Christopher Lee appeared as himself.

A more perfect setting than this ecclesiastically gothic chateau could not have been found. The problem was the music.

If you're going to create the world of Tolkien and spend about a million dollars on a do - why hire a French
rapper for the ents?

Or play Salsa? Or Cole Porter? Teletext's theatre critic Sheridan Morley would have relished the latter as Frodo shimmied.

Personally I would have opted for whoozy New Age music - you know, tuneless woodwind set to whale song - or Clannad or even the gorgeous Enya.

The pagan world here needed an elemental score to whisk our imaginations into the soil (or should that be soul?) of Tolkien.

Tables groaned under an enormous variety of breads, cheeses and game. The chefs eschewed beetle or woodlice dips.

Red wine was served in earthenware vessels but many opted for several shots of tequila at the Giant's Bar.

Later many guests danced barefoot in the ground, pagan-style.

Meanwhile, Christopher Lee stood about in his patent leather black hooves and complained about modern British actors.

In all 1,000 people raved at the LOTR party, along with Andie MacDowell, Harvey Weinstein (of Miramax) and Liv Tyler.

Other guests included Sean Bean, director Peter Jackson and John Rhys-Davis.

New Line Cinema says it's spent $1.5m pushing LOTR at Cannes alone.

I'd say that judging by this mega-do you can safely add another million to the bill.


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