The Cannes Film Festival
( ), founded in 1946, is
one of the world's oldest and most prestigious film festivals
. The private festival
is held annually (usually in May) at the Palais des
Festivals et des Congrès, in the resort town of Cannes, in the
south of France.
The 62nd edition
13 May and ended 24 May 2009. The President of the Jury was French
actress Isabelle Huppert
The Cannes Film Festival is organised in various sections:
- The Official Selection - The main event of the
- In Competition - The twenty films competing for the Palme d'Or. They are projected in the Théâtre
- Un Certain Regard - Twenty
films selected from cultures near and far; original and different
works. They are projected at the Salle Debussy.
- Out of Competition - These films are also projected in the
Théâtre Lumière but do not compete for the main
- Special Screenings - The selection committee chooses for these
films an environment specially adapted to their particular
- Cinéfondation - About fifteen
shorts and medium-length motion pictures from film schools over the
world are presented at the Salle Buñuel.
- Short Films - The shorts competing for the Short Film Palme d'Or are presented at
the Buñuel and Debussy theatres.
- Parallel Sections - These are non-competitive
programmes dedicated to discovering other aspects of cinema.
- Cannes Classics - It celebrates the heritage of film, aiming to
highlight works of the past, presented with brand new or restored
- Tous les Cinémas du Monde - It showcases the vitality and
diversity of cinema across the world. Each day, one country is
invited to present a range of features and shorts in celebration of
its unique culture, identity and recent film works.
- Caméra d'Or - It rewards the
best first film of the Festival, choosing among the debutants'
works among the Official Selection, the Directors' Fortnight and
the International Critics' Week selections.
- Cinéma de la Plage - Screening of Cannes Classics and Out of
Competition films for the mass public on Macé beach, preceded by a
programme dedicated to film music.
- Other Sections - Produced by outside
organizations during the Cannes Festival.
- Marché du Film - The busiest
movie market of the world.
- Masterclasses - Given in public by world renowned
- Tributes - Honors internationally renowned artists with the
presentation of the Festival Trophee following the screening of one
of their films.
- Producers Network - An
opportunity to make international co-productions.
- Exhibitions - Each year, an artist, a body of work or a
cinematographic theme becomes the focus of an exhibition that
diversifies or illustrates the event's programme.
- 60th Anniversary - Events organised in 2007 dedicated to the
60th anniversary of the Festival.
Prior to the beginning of each event, the Festival’s board of
directors appoints the juries who hold sole responsibility for
choosing which films will receive the blessing of a Cannes award.
Jurors are chosen from a wide range of international artists, based
on their body of work and respect from their peers.
- Feature Films - An international jury composed of a President
and various film or art personalities , who determine the prizes
for the feature films in Competition.
- Cinéfondation and Short Films - Composed of a President and
four film personalities. It awards the Short Film Palme d'Or as
well as the three best films of the Cinéfondation.
- Un Certain Regard - Composed of a President, journalists,
students in cinema and industry professionals. It awards the Un
Certain Regard Prize for best film and can, moreover, honour two
- Caméra d'Or - Composed of a President, as well as film
directors, technicians and French and international critics. They
reward the best first film in any selection.
The most prestigious award given out at Cannes is the Palme d'Or
("Golden Palm") for the best
- Other Sections
- Given by Independent Entities
At the end
of the 1930s, shocked by the interference of the fascist governments of Italy and Germany in the
selection of films for the Mostra
del cinema di Venezia, Jean Zay, the
of National Education, decided to create an international
cinematographic festival in France, on the proposal of Philippe Erlanger and the support of the
British and Americans. Many towns were proposed as candidates, as
Vichy, Biarritz or Algiers, although
finally Cannes was the chosen one; thus, Le Festival
International de Cannes was born.
The "Palais des Festivals"
In June 1939, Louis Lumière
agreed to be the president of the first festival, set to be held
from 1 to 30 September 1939. The German attack on
Poland on 1 September 1939, followed by the declaration of war against Germany by France
and the United
Kingdom on 3 September, ended the first edition of the
festival before it started.
The festival was relaunched after World War
in 1946, in the old Casino of Cannes, financed by the
and the City of Cannes. Although the initial
spirit of the French festival was to compete with its Italian
counterpart, a secret agreement took place between both nations, so
that they will celebrate their international festivals in
alternating years. The first Cannes Festival had a considerable
success, so when the Franco-Italian agreement was made public it
was heavily criticised and considered as a "capitulation of
The next year, in 1947, the festival was held again as the
Festival du film de Cannes
, dropping the international
nature, but only in name, as films from sixteen countries were
presented. Moreover, the principle of equality was introduced, so
that the jury was to be made up only of one representative per
country. Also, this year the festival was held at the
made-for-the-occasion Palais des Festivals
, although the
roof was unfinished and blew off during a storm.
The festival was not held either in 1948 or 1950 on account of
budgetary problems, offering no competition to the Venetian
festival those years. In 1951, owing to better relations between
France and Italy, the Cannes Festival was moved to Spring, while
remained in Autumn.
In 1955 the Golden Palm
replacing the Grand Prix du Festival
which had been given
until that year. In 1959 the Marché du Film
(Film Market) was
founded, giving the festival a commercial character and
facilitating exchanges between sellers and buyers in the film
industry. Today it has become the first international platform for
In 1962 the International
was born, created by the French Union of Film
Critics as the first parallel section of the Cannes Film Festival.
Its goal was to showcase first and second works bydirectors from
all over the world, not succumbing to commercial tendencies. In
1965 an hommage was paid to Jean
after his death, and he was named Honorary President
for life. The next year, Olivia de
was named the first female president of the
The 1968 festival was halted on 19 May 1968. Some directors, such
as Carlos Saura
and Milos Forman
, had withdrawn their films from
the competition. On 18 May, filmmaker Louis Malle along with a group of directors took
over the large room of the Palais and interrupted the
projections in solidarity with students and labour on strike throughout
France, and in protest to the eviction of the then President of
the Cinémathèque Française.
The filmmakers achieved the reinstatement
of the President, and they founded the Film Directors' Society
(SRF) that same year. In 1969 the SRF, led by Pierre-Henri Deleau
created the Directors'
, a new non-competitive section that programs a
selection of films from around the world, distinguished by the
independent judgment displayed in the choice of films.
The "Palais des Festivals" in which
the festival takes place.
During the 1970s, important changes occurred in the Festival. In
1972 Robert Favre Le Bret was named the new President, and Maurice
Bessy the Managing Director. He immediately introduced an important
change in the selection of the participating films. Until that
date, the different countries chose which films would represent
them in the festival. Bessy created one committee to select French
films, and another for foreign films. In 1978 Gilles Jacob
assumed the President position,
introducing the Caméra d'Or
and the Un Certain Regard
Other changes were the decrease of length of the festival down to
thirteen days, reducing the number of selected films thus; also,
until that point the Jury was composed by Film Academics, and Jacob
started to introduce celebrities and professionals from the film
In 1983 a new, much bigger Palais des Festivals et des
was built to host the Festival. It was nicknamed "The
Bunker" and provoked many reactions against it. In 1984 Pierre Viot
replaced Robert Favre Le Bret as
President of the Festival.
Stars posing for photographers are a
part of Cannes folklore.
It wasn't until 1995 that Gilles Jacob created the last section of
the Official Selection: la Cinéfondation
. Its aim was to support the
creation of works of cinema in the world and to contribute to the
entry of the new scenario writers in the circle of the celebrities.
The Cinéfondation was completed in 2000 with La Résidence
and in 2005 L'Atelier
. Meanwhile, the Festival would
obtain its current President, Gilles Jacob, in 2000, and in 2002
officially adopted the name Festival de Cannes
Stars posing for photographers are a
part of Cannes folklore.
The festival has become an important showcase for European films.
Jill Forbes and Sarah Street argue in , that Cannes
"became...extremely important for critical and commercial interests
and for European attempts to sell films on the basis of their
artistic quality" (page 20). Forbes and Street
also point out that, along with other festivals such as Venice and Berlin, Cannes offers an opportunity to
determine a particular country's image of its cinema and generally
foster the notion that European cinema is "art"
Additionally, given massive media exposure, the non-public festival
is attended by many movie stars and is a popular venue for film
producers to launch their new films and attempt to sell their works
to the distributors who come from all over the globe.
Cannes portrayed on film
Cannes on Television
- The HBO show Entourage featured the Cannes
film festival in the finale of their 4th season. The movie
Medellin was screened in the season finale.
- Cannes International Film Festival New York
- In Pictures: Chic Cannes Hideaways Forbes
- The Festival Cannes Festival website
- Cannes juries Cannes Festival website
- Pixar pooch picks Up Cannes prize, BBC News 22
May 2009, retrieved on 27 May 2009
- History of the Festival Website of the
Commune de Cannes
- 60th Festival of Cannes - Retrospective
Ville de Cannes website. (See Cannes et Venise en
- 60th Festival of Cannes - Retrospective
Ville de Cannes website. (See Un concours
- Festival History Cannes Festival official website
- About the ICW International Critics' Week
- 1968 Cannes Festival Cannes-fest.com archive
- History of the Directors' Fortnight. 1968.
Directors' Fortnight website
- Directors' Fortnight Presentation Directors'
Fortnight website. Retrieved 1 September 1007
- 1972 Cannes Festival Cannes-fest.com archive
- 1978 Cannes Festival Cannes-fest.com archive
- 1983 Cannes Festival Cannes-fest.com archive
- La Sélection Cinéfondation website
- Cannes: Fifty Years of Sun, Sex & Celluloid : Behind
the Scenes at the World's Most Famous Film Festival by Peter
Bart (Miramax, 1997)
- Cannes - A Festival Virgin's Guide by Benjamin Craig
(Cinemagine Media Publishing, 2004)
- Hollywood on the Riviera: The Inside Story of the Cannes
Film Festival by Cari Beauchamp and Henri Behar (William
Morrow & Co, 1992)