Parties and poor taste play nearly as big a role at the Cannes Film Festival as movies, anyone here will tell you. Both were on ample display Saturday night, according to a colleague who attended the soiree for Abel Ferrara's Welcome to New York—a.k.a. "the DSK movie"—following a screening organized by French distributor Wild Bunch.
I wasn't at the gathering, but the scene my source described would have been too outrageous to believe if she hadn’t shown me the photos to prove it. "Dirty sex" kits were distributed to guests. Among drink options was something called the "Viagra cocktail." Some men at the event were clad in bathrobes (a sartorial reference to Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s attire when he allegedly assaulted hotel housekeeper Nafissatou Diallo in May 2011). Others were disguised as police officers. And in the middle of it all lay a big bed—with a sign that read "Love Hotel"—on which guests posed for pictures. I guess we should just be grateful the cocktail waitresses weren’t wearing maid costumes.
Accounts of the party, ranging from mildly amused to downright disgusted, could be heard up and down the Croisette on Sunday, largely overshadowing the film itself, which Wild Bunch, in an unusual move for a French distribution company, released on VOD and cable last night.
A compelling, ever-so-lightly fictionalized rehashing of the events that saw Strauss-Kahn go from IMF chief and French presidential hopeful to reviled figure and tabloid fodder, Welcome to New York is the most satisfying work from Ferrara in quite some time. It also gives Gérard Depardieu—better known these days for his professed love of Russia and disdain for France's tax policies—a role worthy of his talents.