LifestyleIn The Know

Cannes’ Dark Side: Black-Market Ticket Trade Amidst Glamour

A sum of two thousand euros could get you an exclusive debut of the newest “Indiana Jones”, or perhaps you’d prefer 20,000 for a night with Leonardo DiCaprio?

The underground trade for prime seats at the Cannes Film Festival is booming.

Business insiders and recognized journalists have free admission, but numerous regular attendees flock hoping to charm their way in or purchase access to the most sought-after events on the Cannes Croisette.

A great many wait —ready to go, in full evening dress— outside the Palais des Festivals with signs, looking to score a complimentary ticket.

“I’ve already seen three films for free. Each time, kind individuals gave me a ticket,” shares Sienna, a woman in her thirties from Italy who journeyed all the way from Berlin.

A 25-year-old Finn, requesting not to be identified, expressed his willingness to part with a small amount of money for “an Almodovar or the new Scorsese”.

Pedro Almodovar from Spain was present with his much-anticipated short film, “Strange Way of Life”, a “queer Western” with Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal as leads.

Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon”, starring DiCaprio and Robert De Niro, was the most desirable ticket last weekend.

Yet, while many are the beneficiaries of the festival-goers’ generosity, others seek to profit.

An AFP reporter was propositioned with a ticket to “Black Flies”, a disturbing paramedic drama by Sean Penn, for €50.

Nearby, Jenny, a young American from Miami who preferred not to reveal her surname, disclosed her participation in a WhatsApp group that gathers approximately 600 attendees and ticket vendors.

Screenshots of the chats reveal an offer for a ticket to the premiere of “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” last week — attended by Harrison Ford and other celebrities — for €2,000.

“I’m have ticket for Campari party. Can give to somebody,” another group member writes in broken English.

One individual named Alex shows interest, and the seller responds: “Hi, yes €300. Do you have crypto wallet?”

Yet another is proposing a ticket to a soiree graced by DiCaprio for “€20,000 per person”, while others for “after parties” vary between €9,500 to €16,500.

Another is offering a ticket to a party attended by DiCaprio for “€20,000 per person”, while others for “after parties” range from €9,500 to €16,500.

Who has the financial means for these prices?

“Influencers who have millions of followers and just want to be seen,” Jenny explains. “For them and the brands they represent, €2,000 is chump change.”

She adds that the Quick Response (QR) codes had to be “resold by opportunistic professionals aiming to make a profit”.

The festival stated that it “takes action, in collaboration with the police and legal authorities” upon learning about black-market ticket transactions.

“Convictions have been delivered in the past,” the festival organisers communicated to AFP, but police stated there have been no probes thus far this year.