David Lister: Glamour is an essential part of the serious business

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The Independent Online

The story is told of a British film producer trying to get into a swish party in Cannes. The man at the door told her she could not come in because she was wearing leggings. The enraged woman pointed at a French counterpart, also wearing leggings, who was being allowed in. "Oui," shrugged the doorman, "mais elle a du style."

That's the thing about parties at Cannes. They are not just an excuse for a drink and a dance. They are serious business, a time to admire and flaunt fashion, to make deals, to network and luxuriate in the location, usually either a multimillion-pound château or a strictly private part of the beach with the yacht lights twinkling in the distance.

Of course, the myth is circulated that Cannes is purely about films. But without Hollywood at play, Cannes will lose its essential glamour, a glamour that also serves to publicise films, actors and directors.

A nod to austerity has no place at the world's most famous film festival. Movies need to be surrounded by magic, and that's the job of those Riviera parties. They are not an indulgence, they serve a purpose, avec du style.