Some day we'll bite the bullet and experience the magic of the Cannes Film Festival first-hand, but in the meantime, there are advantages to keeping one's distance. For starters, we're insulated from the horrors of marketing rituals like the one foisted on the international press this morning, when Jack Black strolled into Cannes with a few dozen minimum-wage costume slaves panda bears in support of his upcoming Kung Fu Panda. As evidenced by the accompanying video, much hammy ass-kicking and a sort of loin-churning, interspecial sexual chemistry ensues.

Also on the bright side, we won't get robbed on the Croisette like seemingly everyone else in an increasingly frequent rite of passage known as "Cote d' Ass-Losing":

Bill Pence, director of Dartmouth's film school and a co-founder of the Telluride festival, was lining up for a Cannes screening in the early 1990s on the Rue d'Antibes with his wife, Stella, when he felt a light touch on his buttocks. "I said, 'Stella, will you stop that!' And she said, 'I'm not touching you.' " A pickpocket was, and Pence's wallet was gone.

Finally, reviews of Cannes' opening-night film Blindness, which screened for critics this morning, are trickling in. The results are pretty much what we heard a few weeks back: Qualified praise, lukewarm at best, with Jeffrey Wells noting, "I respected Blindness — I certainly agree with what it's saying — but it didn't arouse me at all," and the Telegraph's Sukhdev Sandhu praising castmates Julianne Moore and Alice Braga before concluding, "They do well to save a film that, in trying so hard to be faithful to the novel, falls prey to tone-deafness." Yes, it's only May, but consider this the beginning of the end for its Oscar hopes.