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Cannes Do

Plus the latest on Nicole Kidman from the French Riviera at the Cannes Film Festival.

Although the early buzz among film industry stalwarts might be that Cannes lacks the usual excitement this year, all that changed when Nicole Kidman swept into town on Monday for the premiere of her gritty new film “Dogville,” by Lars von Trier. In the film, Kidman plays a girl on the run, doing chores in a mining town where, in exchange, the denizens hide her from police. Making her morning appearance, however, clad in a black satin Gucci dress and vintage Bulgari choker, Kidman looked 100 percent movie star.

She took the opportunity to give reporters a jolt. “I know I won’t be acting forever,” Kidman said. “When I fall in love again, I’d like to settle down and do other things.”

Of course, until then, she’s booked, making two more films with von Trier to complete the “Dogville” trilogy, and starring in “The Stepford Wives” “because I need something light after all the screaming and crying.”

But while she appreciates the perks of being a major star — and calling the shots career-wise — Kidman still swoons for the glamour of Cannes. “It’s still really important to jump into the hotel bed and go, ‘Oh my god, I’m staying at the Hotel du Cap!’” said Kidman, who is attending the festival for the fourth time.

Of course, jumping into bed was a low priority for most of the stars in town. On Sunday night for the premiere of “Swimming Pool,” Charlotte Rampling and Ludivine Sagnier climbed the Palais steps dressed in manly Dior Homme and demure Prada, respectively. The audience, watching the stars arrive on a screen inside the Grande Theatre Lumiere, didn’t bat an eye until a Dior-clad Julie Delpy was caught on camera chomping gum, raising fits of laughter.

The sexy screening earned a five-minute standing ovation. Then Sagnier, Rampling and all boarded shuttles up to the Villa de Mai, high above the Croisette in the hills, where a string quartet played and guests made their way down the terraced gardens to white dinner tents on each level. “Ah, it’s a little surreal,” said Sagnier, the film’s young star.
The night before, things were even more surreal at the MTV Europe-T3 bash held at Pierre Cardin’s Space Age estate, Le Palais Bulles, a.k.a The Bubble House, about 30 minutes and what seemed like hundreds of miles high above Cannes. The star wattage was a bit of a disappointment, but it didn’t seem to bother the host-designer, who took a break from mingling with the masses to examine the pebbles beside one of the many crater pools in the 27-room, 250-domed-window estate. “My fashion has always been inspired by the moon and the cosmos, so I love this house,” said Cardin. “I love having parties here, because when I am alone, it is like a monastery.”

And what did the designer, dressed in a navy blazer, white pants and canvas boating shoes, think of his Hollywood houseguests?

“A man has never picked me up before,” he said, demonstrating the one-armed lift Arnold Schwarzenegger used to greet him at the door. “I am not light, but he is strong.” And with that, Cardin turned to rejoin the young throng writhing on the dance floor, where they were said to have remained until 5:30 a.m.