Cannes In The Spotlight

Cannes is one of the greatest accolades a filmmaker, actor, film-production crew member or fashion designer can have on their résumé. Since September 1946, the Festival de Cannes has grown into what we know now, as one of the most spectacular cinematic festivals of our time. At this time, what the festival has grown to become, is not just a platform for cinema’s new releases of a plethora of filmic genres, but a glittering celebration of  craft. Awards aside, the festival is driven by the cinematic world; the inquisitive documentaries, experimental short films, money-making blockbusters and everything else in-between. Actors are celebrated as much as screenwriters and directors, whilst the entire selection of awards, offers prizes to students and young talent also.

Woody Allen's 'Irrational Man' - photo: slashfilm.com
Woody Allen’s ‘Irrational Man’ – photo: slashfilm.com
“The Cannes film festival is about big-budget films but also remarkable films made in different political regimes by film-makers with little resources.”
– Kristin Scott Thomas

Showing the diversity amongst the festival is to look to the past. In 1960, the award for best actress ex-aequo, went to Melina Mercouri for Never On Sunday [Directed by Jules DASSIN]. Best Actor in 2013 went to Bruce Dern for black and white drama Nebraska. The most anticipated award of them all, the Palme d’Or has been given to the likes of Scorsese for 1976’s Taxi Driver 1976, to 2011’s  The Tree of Life by Terrence Malick and last year, to Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Winter Sleep. Other notable winners of various awards have included Francis Ford Coppola, Sophia Loren, to Julianne Moore and Terence Stamp. The list is quite simply endless, with there being just under seventy years of film to celebrate thus far.

“Cannes or any other major festival is basically an animal in its own nature, creating very specific perceptions of films in a moment.”
– Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

As expected, the red carpet has become something of an iconic feature; something that is highly anticipated. But there is something different at Cannes, in comparison to an awards show. This, quite rightly is a festival of cinematically viable celebrations. In the days it is held, as the various film screenings take place, the photo-calls are adhered to and the talks and conferences are discussed at extensive length, theres a somewhat different texture to the air, and not just because everyone is on the French Riviera. It is perhaps that Cannes is also host to Midem, and the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity or that, for once, the entirety of the festival is dedicated purely to the intensive nature of film. It’s a mix of the glamorous, the quirky and the intense.

“I actually know the moment I became known. It was at the Cannes Film Festival, when they showed ‘The Virgin Spring.’ I walked into that theater as one person, and I walked out as another.”
– Max von Sydow
“To be able to work with people who I have respected and admired, to be a part of something like the Cannes Film Festival, is surreal and brilliant.”
– Luke Evans

In the twelve days, the selection of films being shown, and those up for awards over the festival is extensive. Closing the festival will be Ice and the Sky, the documentary film directed by Luc Jacquet [March of the Penguins, 2005 & The Fox and the Child, 2007]. The critics have had The Lobster, Irrational Man and The Anarchists at the top of their lists, whilst there has also been much talk about Standing Tall and Mad Max: Fury Road, which is out-of-competition.

We’re still far from the end of the festival and with a plethora of news and blogs dedicated to the festival, one refrains from writing such a post at this time; instead, I merely write a short insight piece of the festival to spark a little something. Perhaps a piece that keeps one interested, or one that sparks someone to invest some time into immersing themselves into one of the greatest events on the cinematic calendar.

Yorgos Lanthimos’s ‘The Lobster’, photo: picturehouseblog.co.uk
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