Thank the Lord and praise Allah — I’ve booked myself a flight that leaves Tuesday morning. This is the beat that my heart skipped. The last time I was this desperate to escape a city was when I was in Fez with the kids in May 2009.
Wifi has been spotty since I’ve arrived at the Palace Es Saadi — weak, passable, fast, weak again — but this morning it’s been all but nonexistent. The concierge says it’s the city’s fault (“It’s bad on the weekend”) and the tech guy…let’s not go there. It’s tedious to read about this, but there’s really no point in being here with this level of service. I won’t be able to record Oscar Poker today because of this. The Moroccan atmosphere only goes so far.
On top of which access to talent isn’t as informal as I thought it would be. Press people have it pretty easy in Cannes, Toronto and Sundance in this respect, but they’re kind of relegated to the sidelines here. I suspect that talent isn’t that much into giving interviews; they’re here to kick back and sample the North African vibe, and I don’t blame them. (I’ve had opportunities to chat with Charlotte Rampling and Alan Parker, and I have a John Malkovich round-table at 5:30 pm.) And there’s not that much to discuss anyway.
Like dozens of other peripheral big-city festivals around the world that aren’t really in the swing of it, the Marrakech Film Festival is — understandably — basically about itself. It’s about the rich swells attending black-tie events and the festival nurturing good relations with filmmakers and promoting tourism. And the events and venues are located all over town, and at considerable distances from each other, so you’re either a slave to taxis or you have to take a map and an iPhone and try to find them on your scooter. A lot of stopping and getting honked at, let me tell you.
I’m filing this from the Palais de Congres press room, where everything is wired just fine. Yes, I could scooter down here every morning and post new stories and photos, but if I did something else would go wrong. So far it’s been one ordeal after another with short little breaks of enjoyment.