Another early start on Friday, as we queued outside the Palais for THE LOBSTER. Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos – his first film in the English language – and a co-production between Greece, UK, Netherlands, France and Ireland, the film is a comedic melodrama starring Colin Farrell as David, a man who checks into a mysterious hotel to find love, and must do so in 45 days or be turned into an animal. You can read our review here.

After a quick coffee, it was back into the Palais for Woody Allen’s latest, IRRATIONAL MAN. The film stars Joaquin Phoenix as Abe, a college professor lost in a deep existential funk – even as he starts an affair with student Jill (Emma Stone) – who finds a new joie de vivre when he makes a decision that most would shy away from. Our full review is here.

As they walked the famous Red Steps later in the evening, star of IRRATIONAL MAN, Parker Posey, called director Woody Allen a ‘maestro’, and said it was a ‘wish granted’ to work with him. Allen himself, when asked to describe the film, called it ‘a cinematic masterpiece’, in his typical wry manner.

Elsewhere on the Croisette, Natalie Portman’s directorial debut A TALE OF LOVE AND DARKNESS screened Out of Competition – and clashed with the Woody Allen flick so we missed it – and received mixed reviews.

As we headed to the Irish Pavilion to soak up the sun and some wifi, we found Ben Wishaw – star of THE LOBSTER and of course, Q in the Daniel Craig BOND films – wandering around the Palais, engrossed in his phone.

The evening screening for press was Gus Van Sant’s SEA OF TREES, perhaps the most hotly contested ticket of the day. We queued for over an hour to get in, were turned away at the door when the screening was full, and almost found ourselves in the beginnings of a riot, as disappointed press argued their case to get in to no avail. Reviews emerging after the screening were not incredibly positive, however, as it seems Gus Van Sant has taken a page out of Nicholas Sparks’ book, and made a saccharine sweet, sentimental film. Our colleague Donald Clarke from the Irish Times told us the film received the loudest boos from the assembled audience that he had heard in 6 years of coming to the Cannes Film Festival. Eek! Still, the calls by press to have Van Sant direct the adaptation of Sparks’ next book mean that he’ll always have work after the festival!

On Saturday we rose early again to get down to the Palais for the 8.30am screening of 2012 Cannes Jury President Nanni Moretti’s latest; MY MOTHER. The film has already been released in Moretti’s native Italy, so we had some idea of what to expect. MY MOTHER is a smart, funny, sad and honest examination of a director’s life, as she tries to balance the personal issue of her mother being ill, and the professional trouble of her main actor being arrogant and demanding. John Turturro and Margherita shine in this dramedy, and you can read our full review here.

Sadly, we had to skip the screening of AMY, the documentary about the life of the tragic Amy Winehouse, which has been getting rave reviews along the Croisette – Peter Bradshaw from The Guardian named director Asif Kapadia the ‘King of Cannes’, having seen the film – to go and talk to Woody Allen and Parker Posey about IRRATIONAL MAN.

We will publish our full interview closer to the time, but we can reveal that Posey first auditioned for Allen – unsuccessfully – 20 years ago, so when she found out she had landed a role in IRRATIONAL MAN, she burst into tears. Allen, for his part, had always been intrigued by Posey – ‘who is called Parker Posey!?’ – but had never felt a part was right for her until now. Let’s hope they collaborate more in the future.

After a quick dash down the Croisette, it was time to meet Colin Farrell for THE LOBSTER, his film In Competition, where he talked with us about his thoughts on the upcoming Marriage Referendum. You can read our exclusive chat with Farrell, and his hopes for the referendum here.

Queueing is a pastime for the press at Cannes, so after we left Colin, we crossed the Croisette to get in line for the screening of Todd Haynes’ CAROL, starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. Having been turned away from SEA OF TREES the night before, we were not taking any chances, and waited for two hours in the sunshine to get into the screening – we know, it’s a hard life. Our perseverance paid off however, and we are delighted to report that Haynes’ adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel ‘The Price of Salt’ is a rich, beautiful and engaging film. You can read our full review here.

After all this excitement, it was time for a swift glass of wine with some of the Irish distributors and JDIFF professionals, before we left them to it and headed to bed. The 8.30am screenings are an endurance test in themselves!

Words: Brogen Hayes