By Billy Goodrum
In May, I went to the Cannes Film Festival in France. Two films that I wrote music for were screening at the Festival so I decided to go. The first thing I learned along the way is that it’s pronounced “can.” Like a tin can. Not “Caan” or “Caans.” Just Can. It was an extraordinary experience, and I am happy to report that both films were very well received.
Before I traveled to France, I read up on Baba’s stay in Cannes in 1937. One thing that jumps out is that it was a long stay. Baba originally planned to be there for a year, but He ended up staying there for a little less than three months. From August 13th until November 2nd 1937. Almost as long as all His time in Myrtle Beach combined. He did make a few excursions, including the World’s Fair in Paris, during the stay, but home base was Cannes for 82 days.
Two houses were rented for Baba and the group to stay in. Baba and the women stayed in Villa Caladona, and the men Mandali and most of the westerners stayed at a compound of three houses; with the main house was called Capo di Monte. Baba’s house Villa Caladona is no longer standing. The other, where the men Mandali were housed, is still there, and you can actually rent a two bedroom unit and stay there.
This trip to Cannes was the first time Mehera and Mani traveled to the west.
Baba had Adi Sr. and Baidul bring Mohammed the Mast to Cannes, and they arrived late in Baba’s visit on October 8th. Mohammed was lodged in a room above a garage at Capo di Monte so the men Mandali could attend to him.
According to Lord Meher, one day Baba and Mohammed went out for a drive with Mercedes D’Acosta in a convertible. Along the way Mohammed starting screaming at the top of his lungs. A policeman stopped them, at which point Mohammed started shouting louder and then burst into song. Mercedes explained that Baba had taken a vow of silence and that Mohammed was a mentally ill Hindu getting treatment in Cannes. I tried to imagine that scene as I walked the crowded, paparazzi-filled streets during the Festival.
Many people from all over Europe came to see Baba during His stay there. He was doing inner work connected with the impending World War. Kitty wrote: “The outbreak of World War II was not far off, and Baba was working intensely in relation to European affairs.” Baba said that was the reason He had Mohammed brought as he represented Germany.
Baba met with film producer Gabriel Pascal in Paris, and screenwriter Alexander Markey came to see Baba in Cannes. Both men had been working on Baba’s film project for several years. I’m sure most people reading this know that Baba had spent a considerable amount of time and energy working with some of His followers to develop a film based on spiritual themes. After this time in Cannes, Baba gave the film project little attention.
As Baba was doing work in connection with World War II while he was in Cannes, could He have also been doing inner work connected to a Film Festival? I know Baba says that “not a leaf moves but by my will,” but at what point might He hand off some of the detail work to an underling in the Spiritual Hierarchy?
The idea for an international film festival in Cannes was first conceived in 1937 by Jean Zay, France’s Minister for Education and Fine Arts, who was keen to establish a cultural event on par with the Venice Film festival. He worked on it throughout 1938 and was planning to hold the first festival in 1939. However, it was not until over a year after the war ended that it finally took place, in September 1946.
As I look at the facts and dates it seems to me that Baba could have been doing work regarding the Cannes Film Festival. Baba had a gathering of people from all over the western world including a screenwriter from Hollywood. . . . much like the Film Festival. The idea for the festival was formulated by Jean Zay right around the time Baba was in Cannes. Also, characteristic of Baba, it didn’t happen when it was originally planned to happen but only much later.
I enjoy thinking that Baba was laying the cable for an international creative gathering we know as the Cannes Film Festival. It was a way that I remembered Baba when I was there. One of the great gifts Baba has given us are the many different ways to remember Him through His activities during His life. Whatever our own personal inclinations might be, it’s not too hard to connect it to Baba and remember Him in a practical way. Like a mystery? Find “the book” that Baba wrote. Dog lover? Baba too! Like picnics? Baba was the picnic Avatar! Like being alone? Do your own “seclusion work.” Hopeless romantic? The list is endless. Going to Cannes? It feels like He’s still there.