Cohosted by Miramax Films, the occasion featured Hollywood legend, celebrated diamond lover and AmFAR Founding National Chair Elizabeth Taylor. In her introductory remarks, Taylor, expressing herself far more lucidly than at her interesting Golden Globes appearance earlier this year, implored the audience to support AIDS research. "We need your encouragement; we need your support," she said. "But most importantly, we need your cash."
The event raised close to $2 million, and during the lengthy auction, the crowd bid on everything from breakfast with Elizabeth Hurley to an outfit worn by Julia Roberts in Erin Brockovich. Among those present were Stephen Baldwin, Cannes jury president Liv Ullmann, Alan Cumming, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Rosanna Arquette, David Lynch, Tim Robbins and Sela Ward, who popped over from Monaco, where she was hosting the breast-cancer fundraiser Cure by the Shore.
The highlight of the evening was a performance by singer Shirley Bassey. Caked in diamonds, Bassey performed a sizzling rendition of the James Bond tune "Diamonds Are Forever." When Miramax cochair Harvey Weinstein goaded the audience to bid for an encore, it was Taylor herself who placed the highest bid: $100,000. Bassey promptly returned to the stage and brought the crowd to its feet with "Goldfinger."
QUOTE OF THE DAY|
"Get famous friends."
---Alan Cumming, codirector of The Anniversary Party, divulging his advice to aspiring filmmakers
Later, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Alan Cumming, the stars and codirectors of the seriocomic digital-video work The Anniversary Party, convene to discuss their film, screening in the Un Certain Regard section. Joining them are costars John C. Reilly, Jennifer Beals and Jane Adams, among others.|
"It's pretty thrilling to be presenting the film at Cannes," says Leigh. "It's what we always dreamed would happen. Cannes is the closest thing I can imagine to being a movie star in the 1930s. Walking up the red carpet is a scene you can't describe; you just have to experience it." The ensemble pic, which also stars Parker Posey, Kevin Kline, Phoebe Cates and Gwyneth Paltrow, "is all about friendship and love." She adds, "And everyone in it is a friend, and the part was written especially for them." In Hollywood, that's what friends are for.
"It was like one of those Judy Garland-Mickey Rooney films," Cumming says of the "let's-put-on-a-show" genre. In their case, it was: "Let's do a movie! We talked about how digital video was making it easier for people to make films."
Leigh says the project was the easiest thing. "I wasn't actually nervous. It came so much out of me and Alan, out of our friendship (which was generated by working together on Broadway in a revival of Cabaret)."
"We started talking about how we both wanted to direct, and said: 'Why don't we do something together and do a portrait of a marriage and let's have all our friends in it and let's have it all take place in one night.'
"We wanted it to be all friends because it's a very different thing when people 'act' friendship than when they are friends because you come in with a history. You can just cut through."
The Variety Pavilion hosted the American Directors Conference moderated by
Roger Ebert. Invited directors included J.J. Leigh & A. Cumming, E. Hawke, A
Howard, T. Solondz, W. Wang.|