Sponsored: Surviving Cannes - film screenings

Total Film's insider guide to the Cannes Film Festival, in association with Microsoft, powered by the HP Spectre x360.

You've never quite seen a film until you've seen it with an audience at Cannes.

Far and away the most, erm, expressive audience you'll ever be a part of, filmgoers at Cannes are a demonstrative bunch, and seeing a film in the Palais comes with its own unique set of rituals. Like queuing. The colour of your press pass will affect how early you have to arrive for screenings. White? You're basically royalty. Pink? You can probably rock up 30 minutes in advance and still get in. Blue? Expect to start standing in line at least two hours before the allocated start time if you want any chance of being seated. Orange or yellow? You might as well go stand outside, begging for a ticket.

Which is, weirdly, what a lot of people do. Outside the Palais (the home to several screens where the majority of films are shown and most premieres take place, including the Grand Théâtre Lumière and the Debussy), you find impeccably well dressed hordes holding up small hand-drawn paper signs, pleading for spares tickets for the hottest show in town. Weirder still, this actually seems to work occasionally.

But once you're finally in, you can be assured that you'll be in the company of an extremely respectful audience. Films are viewed in a hushed silence, with none of the chatting or texting that blights your local multiplex. However, once the film's over, the place can erupt. As you'll hear about each year, at least one film will be subjected to hearty boos, but more fortunate filmmakers will get cheers, the sought-after 'bravos' or even a 10-minute standing ovation. Cannes audiences don't tend to sit on the fence much.

And if you head to a screening in the Debussy, you just might hear someone howl, 'Raoooooul!' before the movie begins, much to the amusement of everyone in earshot. It dates back to a (possibly apocryphal) story from the early days of Cannes, when a guy was saving a seat for his mate Raoul, and needed to get his attention. A bit of levity is welcome, as the films at Cannes tend to be sombre, hard-hitting dramas. Although, there are always a couple of films to lighten the mood, and this year Mad Max: Fury Road and Inside Out hit the spot.

So, while the films themselves are a very serious business, inevitably chaos reigns either side. There's no time for slouching, which is why you need to make sure your computer can keep up. The HP Spectre x360 is light enough to have on you at all times, and its tablet-mode is ideal making notes in the queue or immediately tweeting your reaction after the film (when timing really is crucial). Then it's a case of dashing back to your apartment (or the Palais's own press room) to write a more considered formal review. Time is still of the essence though, so it's straight into laptop-mode and you're off.

And once the last review of the day is filed, it's time to grab a bit of food, chat about the films you've seen, and check on tomorrow's schedule. It's a hectic 12 days, but as a film fan devouring some of the most anticipated films of the year, you wouldn't have it any other way.

In partnership with Microsoft, powered by the HP Spectre x360

The Total Film team are made up of the finest minds in all of film journalism. They are: Editor Jane Crowther, Deputy Editor Matt Maytum, Reviews Ed Matthew Leyland, News Editor Jordan Farley, and Online Editor Emily Murray. Expect exclusive news, reviews, features, and more from the team behind the smarter movie magazine.