sean penn presents the third wave

since this blog is more accessible to the public, i’m going to repost some of my blog notes from facebook while i was at cannes. enjoy!


Excitedly pouncing on the chance to nab priority tickets to the much anticipated “Sean Penn Presents: The Third Wave”, I picked up my tickets, grabbed a drink and free CDs at the Onteario Media Development Corporation party, and headed over to the busy queue. Flashing my ticket, I was directed to the priortiy line, where glammed up movie goers waited. Taking a closer look, I noticed that the ticket read “Formal Wear Required”, but I decided not to turn around to head home, and stood firmly in my flip-flops. But realizing I had 2 extra tickets, I rushed back to the rush-line and offered tem to the 2 elder ladies in the front who obviously were itching to get in (Hey, I’m Canadian, it’s what we do).

The door staff, in heavy french accents, let me in saying I had reserved seats “in the middle”. I walked in to the theatre, saw signs with “Reservee” along the row. Seeing the row with Sean Penn’s name, I chose a seat in the centre, only to be asked to choose another row by an usher. A few minutes later, in comes a procession of men and women, dressed to the nines, filling up the seats I was asked to leave. Then in walked perpetually shaded singer Bono and rotund doc maker Michael Moore! They were sitting in front of each other and chatted for a while as other special guests line in. The MC then begins to introduce all the celebs, and Moore gets a huge applause with hoots, hollers and cheers from the crowd. Bono gets an acceptably polite response (I bet it was nothing like that last year, with the stunt U2 played last year on the red carpet).

Sean Penn addresses the audience, as does Petra Nemcova, a supermodel who survived the tsunami, and the film begins. Among the hype, the glamour, and festivities that are synonymous to the Cannes Festival, there lies a glimmer of what it was originaly intended for: great cinema. “Wave” didn’t begin with the intention of that, nor does it necessarily live up to it, but the documentary is surely a source of isnpiration and enlightenment.

A personal, harrowing look into the aftermath and relief efforts of volunteers from abroad, I was soon in tears throughout the film, as the plot showcased the triumphs and losses involved in rebuilding not only infrastructure, but families, hopes, and healing. As Penn noted before the screening, “The Third Wave” truly is “a textbook notion of how we can help ourselves when the government doesn’t.”

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