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“ This is the best party we have had here. This one even tops James Bond! ”

Music channel MTV

Fashion designer Pierre Cardin parties on

Mon 19 May 2003 | 00h00 GMT+1

The Cannes jet set certainly know how to party and no one more so than French fashion designer Pierre Cardin. Last year he played host to James Bond at the Cannes film festival. This time his star guest was The Terminator.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, cranking up the publicity machine for the release in July of "Terminator 3: The Rise of the Machines," went partying on Saturday night with 1,500 movers and shakers from the movie industry.

The setting was perfect -- Cardin opened up his space age hillside mansion Palais Bulles (Bubble Palace) for what ranked as the most spectacular party of Cannes 2003, where conspicuous consumption reigns supreme.

The guests gaped in astonishment at Cardin's futuristic house, which is full of architectural curves, bubble-shaped windows and swimming pools on every level.

The palace has breathtaking views over the twinkling lights of the Riviera. The champagne flowed freely in specially designed fluorescent glasses and the disco lasted till dawn.

The Terminator added his own science fiction touches to the decor with a collection of animatronic and robotic characters created by Stan Winston, a Terminator veteran who won two Oscars for his visual effects and make-up on "Terminator 2:Judgment Day."

Last year's party starred the world's most famous spy with Pierce Brosnan flying into Cannes for a party to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the James Bond movies. That was lavish enough -- but The Terminator splashed out too.

"This is the best party we have had here. This one even tops James Bond," said a spokeswoman for the music channel MTV, which staged the extravaganza -- the hottest ticket in town for dedicated 24-hour party people.

"The T 3 crew certainly loved it. Arnie mingled with the guests and had a great time," she told Reuters. "Pierre Cardin was delighted there were so many people. He certainly is amazing for a man of 80."

Cardin, who helped to change the face of 20th century fashion, clearly enjoys having his house heaving with guests.

"All my life I have had big parties," said the couturier who brought high fashion to the high street in the Fifties and designed the collarless Beatle jacket, an enduring symbol of the Swinging Sixties.

"This place is magic," he said proudly of his vast house. "When I am alone, it feels like a monastery."

On campaign

Instead, Schwarzenegger was on a campaign, in this case to raise the profile of T3. In future, according to speculation, America's most famous Republican is going to be running for the governor's office in California.

"Hello everybody," Schwarzenegger said as fans screamed and paparazzi shouted out his name in the vain hope "Arnold" would turn precisely their way for a candid photograph. "It is wonderful to be back here again at Cannes. It is great to be here today for Terminator 3: The Rise of the Machines."

Thanking his producers and distributors for "this gigantic promotion," Schwarzenegger then started a self-aggrandizement spiel that was so over the top that people in the audience started to laugh out loud at how silly it sounded.

"We're all so excited about the movie coming out and, of course, this is the best place to promote the movie," Schwarzenegger said of Cannes, where the 56th film festival is in full swing. "This is the capital of promotion for movies."

For the international press, Schwarzenegger was shameless enough to exhort: "Make sure that you urge all the fans to see the Terminator movie when it comes out in your country."

Schwarzenegger even supplied his own review, a rave: "It is a fantastic movie. It has the best special effects you have ever seen in your life. It has incredible stunts that are absolutely gigantic. The movie turned out to be a straight '10'!"

That took a lot of gall to say, considering Schwarzenegger was in front of the Carlton Hotel, which is also plastered with giant promotional posters for two other effects-driven sequels, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle and the Matrix Reloaded, in which the Wachowski Brothers take F/X to a spectacular new level.

T3 is the first Terminator movie not co-written and directed by James Cameron. Instead, Schwarzenegger enlisted Jonathan Mostow (U-157) to helm the special effects-driven science fiction spectacular that began with the rather modest original in 1984 and continued with the ground-breaking Terminator 2: Judgment Day in 1991.

In an odd coincidence, Cameron, Canada's most famous export to Hollywood, is also at Cannes this weekend. He is here to present Ghosts of the Abyss, his 62-minute IMAX opus about the real Titanic. It is a special presentation in the official selection at Cannes. (Unlike T3, it is already on screens back in Canada and the U.S.)

T3 not up for prizes

Being part of the official selection carries prestige, even if, as is the case of Cameron's film, it is not eligible for prizes after it makes its European debut tonight in Cannes' best venue, the Grand Theatre Lumiere.

In contrast, Terminator 3 is a sideshow at Cannes, a movie that was not invited by the festival, that is not being shown to the media nor the public. The filmmakers are simply using the venue as a stage for their publicity stunt. Being "back" has its rewards for someone like Schwarzenegger. Or even Claire Danes, one of the co-stars of T3 -- on Friday, she got to officially open the American Pavilion at Cannes.

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