…before the start of the exciting, high-stress, sleep-deprived ordeal of the Cannes Film Festival, which is always a kick when you first arrive…here we all are! Great to be back! La Pizza! That briney air and those early-morning cries of seagulls.

But before long that 18-hour-per-day grind feeling takes hold, and before you know it you’re Trevor Howard’s soot-coveted, tired-blood coal miner in Jack Cardiff’s 1960 adaptation of D.H. Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers. A coal miner with a pink badge, I mean. Don’t get me wrong — Cannes is never less than a “fun”, flush time, to be sure, but it’s never a day at the beach.

Unless, of course, you happen to see a film that’s so good you feel rejuvenated, and then life is beautiful again.

My first Cannes Film Festival was in May ‘92 so don’t tell me.

The online reservation process for press began early Friday morning (5.10), or more precisely an hour past midnight in Manhattan or 7 am Cannes time. Four days in advance, one reservation day at a time. I reserved tickets for a Tuesday afternoon showing of the first half (I think) of Abel Gance’s Napoleon (‘27) and an evening screening of Quentin Dupieux’s The Second Act.

Early this morning I missed my 1 am wake-up (I arose at 3 am…unforgivable!) so I missed out on a couple of Wednesday films. (Don’t ask.) You have to pounce immediately at 7 am or you might be left out in the cold. It’s a semi-dicey, fraught process — many veterans yearn for the good old days of just lining up and come what may. Yes, you can still get into screenings on a last-ditch rush basis but…

Tonight’s 1 am reservation opportunity (Thursday’s screenings include Francis Coppola’s Megalopolis and Andrea Arnold’s Bird) happens one hour into my London flight, which departs at 11:59 pm. Let’s hope the Virgin Atlantic wifi will be in good working order.

Right now it’s 2 pm on Saturday, 5.11. For the last 22 hours I’ve been hanging in West Orange (and to some extent Montclair) with Jett, Cait and Sutton…TV time, soccer practice, book store, fresh market.

My train to Manhattan’s Penn Station leaves this evening at 7:56 pm and arrives at 8:30 pm, giving me ample time to arrive at the JFK Virgin Atlantic terminal by roughly 9:45 pm, or a bit more than two hours before the London flight.

I’ll be landing at Heathrow just after noontime tomorrow (Sunday, 5.12). I’ll probably be checked into my zero-perks Bloomsbury hotel by 3 pm or thereabouts, leaving me eight or nine hours of roaming around and smelling the air. The flight to Nice leaves Monday at 8:55 am (necessitating a 5 am wake-up) and touches down at noon.