The first day of the 62nd annual Cannes Film Festival was animated—and not just with the hustle of last-minute touches and red carpets being tacked down before 12 days of glamour on the French Riviera.
The fest kicked off with the premiere of Pixar's Up, the first-ever animated film to open Cannes. The 3-D fantasy—featuring Ed Asner as a 78-year-old man with a flying house—may not be in competition for the Palme d'Or, the festival's highest honor, but that didn't keep the party down:
"The people tonight in their tuxedos and gowns, wearing 3-D glasses?" Pixar head John Lasseter said before the screening. "That's going to be the picture."
While many celebrities have yet to arrive in France, the opening red carpet boasted Elizabeth Banks posing alongside India's Aishwarya Ray, followed by jury members Robin Wright Penn, Asia Argento and more.
Opening day also saw the traditional press conference from the festival jury, headed this year by French actress Isabelle Huppert.
"We're not there to judge, but to enjoy the films and see which ones we enjoy most," she said. "We're going to try to put a bit of our soul in what we see."
And what she's here to see is an international slate of films ranging from Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds to Lars von Trier's Antichrist to Ang Lee's Taking Woodstock.
The Up party, on the pier of the legendary Carlton hotel, had two tents re-creating settings from the the film, and a 40-foot replica of the traveling house, complete with thousands of balloons, rose above the end of the pier.
Lasseter could be seen working the press line in a tuxedo—a departure from his usual trademark Hawaiian shirts—well into the night.
Some partygoers grumbled that many directors in competition would kill to have the budget Disney/Pixar spent on the party, never mind the film itself. That didn't stop them from hitting up the chocolate fondue fountain, or talking about how very good the movie was (reaction has been glowing, especially about Asner's performance).
Today begins the festival's competition slate in earnest, with Andrea Arnold's gritty Fish Tank.