What have you missed most about Cannes?
I missed the movies and the people.
What restaurant or bar have you missed the most?
Tetou. It closed down forever since the pandemic, not because of the pandemic, but apparently for other reasons.
What have you not missed about Cannes?
How do you feel about Cannes in July versus May?
It’s great at both times.
How did you spend lockdown?
I spent lockdown in New York City watching a lot of films, going to restaurants outside and occasionally leaving the city.
Will you miss Zoom meetings, or are they here to stay?
Zoom meetings are great if you can’t actually meet with the people — definitely better than the telephone — but I think people will be traveling more and we’ll be having in-person meetings again.
Is wearing pants regularly again weird for you?
I wear pants every day.
What is the best bargain in Cannes?
The ham and cheese sandwich that I can grab next to the carousel while I’m running to the Palais, worrying that I’m going to be really late. It’s always fantastic and I make it to the theater before anything starts. You haven’t lived until you’ve had that ham and cheese sandwich in a tuxedo rushing up to the red carpet.
What is your only-in-Cannes moment?
I have seen amazing things here. Paul Schrader brought Mishima — a wrenching, gorgeous, dark and heavy film — to the festival, and afterwards, as we walked out of the Palais down the stairs on the red carpet, we were greeted at the bottom of the red carpet by eight giant Care Bears selling The Care Bears Movie. Also, Sylvester Stallone came with Cliffhanger as an out-of-competition screening in the 1980s, and they decided the way to promote the film was to throw soapsuds over the top of the Palais onto people coming up the red carpet — and it ruined everyone’s tuxedo. And by the way, to my memory, that was the first major fundraiser for the American Foundation for AIDS Research [amfAR].
What’s your most memorable Cannes celebrity encounter?
A few years after we distributed Ran when we were at Orion Pictures, Akira Kurosawa twice came to the festival, and both times he put us [Barker and his Sony Classics co-chief Tom Bernard] on the invite list to be with him at intimate dinners, and that meant the world to us.