With Cannes winding down tonight—just one last movie in the festival’s official selection, by Gaspar Noe, was left to play—Bill Murray took to the stage at the Debussy theater with cellist Jan Vogler, pianist Vanessa Perez and violinist Mira Wang for a 25-minute concert of music following the premiere of Andrew Muscato’s doc New Worlds: The Cradle of Civilization.
The film captures Murray, Vogler and friends’ concert in June 2018 at the Acropolis in Greece, in which the ensemble blended classical music, jazz, poetry and literature for an eclectic evening of art, at the culmination of their European tour. It was trumped as “a program that showcases the core of the American values in literature and music,” and featured monologues, singing, and plenty of comedy from Murray as the talented trio of musicians backed him up. The show blended Walt Whitman, George Gershwin, Van Morrison, Leonard Bernstein and Bach, to name a few.
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After the film, Murray took to stage as a Steinway piano was wheeled on. “I know many of you wish to leave,” he joked. “We will not allow it.” After playing an opening number, Murray quipped, “We’ve come all this way, what did you think we were just going to do one song?”
Instead, the audience was rewarded with several numbers, culminating in a performance by Murray—in flawless French—of ‘Aline’, a legendary French number first recorded by Christophe in 1965. Festival chief Thierry Fremaux swayed excitedly in the audience as the Debussy crowd took to its feet to sing along. It went unremarked by Murray, but eagle-eared Cannes longhaulers would have noted that the same song appeared earlier in the festival, covered by Jarvis Cocker on a jukebox at the Cafe Sans Blague in Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch, in which Murray, of course, stars.
All that remained was for a recreation of the scene that opens the film: Murray, with an oversized bunch of roses, stepped into the audience to throw them each, individually, into the crowd. He wrapped up by noting that the night was still young, and there was celebrating to do in the streets.