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Cannes Film Festival 2023, France
May 16 - May 27
Probably the most famous – and certainly the most glitzy – film festivals in the world, the Cannes Film Festival, or Cannes Festival to give its official title, is held at the coastal town in southern France in May.
What is the Cannes Film Festival?
The festival is an annual, invitation only event for the finest films around the world, held at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès in Cannes.
Until 2003, it was called the International Film Festival (Festival International du Film), before changing name to the Cannes Festival (Festival de Cannes).
In addition to the Official Film Selection where the selected films are screened, there is a series of fringe events, such as International Critics Week and Directors’ Fortnight. The event has become the busiest market in the film industry globally.
History of the Cannes Film Festival
Although the first Festival was held in 1946, the origins of the festival date back some eight years prior to then.
Held in 1938, the Venice Mostra was the first international film competition, although under pressure from Hitler and Mussolini, the winners were hardly impartial awards, Nazi propagenda film Olympia by Leni Riefenstahl was one of the two films to reap the Mussolini Cup.
While returning by train from the festival Philippe Erlanger conceived the idea of truly independent film awards.
Originally the festival was to be held in Biarritz, but supporters of Cannes won the day, and the first festival was slated on 1 September 1939 – the same date as the Venice Mostra. Unfortunately, events elsewhere in Europe forced the delay and ultimately cancellation of the festival. It was on 1 September 1939 that Hitler invaded Poland.
In 2002, the initial Palme d’or for the aborted 1939 Cannes Festival was awarded to Cecil B DeMille’s Union Pacific by a jury presided over by Jean D’Ormesson. Other films which would have appeared at the ’39 festival include The Wizard of Oz and The Four Feathers. There was actually one private screening held, of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which consequently became the first ever film in competition at the Cannes Festival.
The first Festival finally took place on 20 September 1946, with films from 19 countries participating, each film received a Grand Prix.
Over the years, some of the world’s greatest directors, Roberto Rossellini, Billy Wilder, George Cukor, David Lean and Jean Renoir have been part of the Cannes story, as well as actors from Grace Kelly to Gina Lollobrigida and Cary Grant to Kirk Douglas. Even Pablo Picasso attended.
The first Palme d’or was awarded to Marty by Delbert Mann in 1955.
The festival has always courted controversy. In 1959, the festival was interrupted when directors including Malle, Truffaut and Godard stormed the stage during a screening of Peppermint Frappé by Carlos Saura.
Cannes winners, such as Pulp Fiction, La Dolce Vita and Taxi Driver were not exactly well-received at the time.
In 1997, marking the festival’s 50th anniversary, Ingmar Bergmann was awarded the Palme des Palmes, by his fellow directors, although the Swede was not available to attend the ceremony himself.
Other major European film festivals include: the Venice International Film Festival, the Berlinale and the BFI London Film Festival.
Cannes Film Festival Awards
The principle awards at the festival are the Palme d’Or (Golden Palm), Grand Prix (Grand Prize of the Festival), Prix du Jury (Jury Prize).
Cannes Film Festival Winners 2021
Palme d’or: Titanium by Julie Ducournau.
Grand Prix: Ghahreman (A Hero), Asghar Farhadi and HYTTI NRO 6 (COMPARTMENT NO. 6) by Juho KUOSMANEN
Jury Prize: Memoria by Apichatpong WEERASETHAKUL; and HABERECH (AHED’S KNEE) by Nadav LAPID
Best Actor: CALEB LANDRY JONES, Nitram.
Best Actress: RENATE REINSVE, Juli in 12 Chapters
Jodie Foster and MARCO BELLOCCHIO received honarary Palme d’ors
The Official selection for the 75th edition of the Cannes Film Festival was announced on 14 April. Selected films are:
HOLY SPIDER, Ali ABBASI
LES AMANDIERS, Valeria BRUNI TEDESCHI
CRIMES OF THE FUTURE, David CRONENBERG
TORI AND LOKITA, Jean-Pierre et Luc DARDENNE
STARS AT NOON, Claire DENIS
FRÈRE ET SŒUR, Arnaud DESPLECHIN
CLOSE, Lukas DHONT
ARMAGEDDON TIME, James GRAY
BROKER, KORE-EDA Hirokazu
NOSTALGIA, Mario MARTONE
RMN, Cristian MUNGIU
TRIANGLE OF SADNESS, Ruben ÖSTLUND
HAEOJIL GYEOLSIM (DECISION TO LEAVE), PARK Chan-Wook
SHOWING UP, Kelly REICHARDT
LEILA’S BROTHERS, Saeed ROUSTAEE
BOY FROM HEAVEN, Tarik SALEH
ZHENA CHAIKOVSKOGO (TCHAÏKOVSKI’S WIFE), Kirill SEREBRENNIKOV
EO, Jerzy SKOLIMOWSKI
Other films showing at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival include: TOP GUN: MAVERICK, Joseph KOSINSKI; ELVIS, Baz LUHRMANN; MASQUERADE, Nicolas BEDOS; NOVEMBRE, Cédric JIMENEZ; THREE THOUSAND YEARS OF LONGING, George MILLER; JERRY LEE LEWIS: TROUBLE IN MIND, Ethan COEN; THE NATURAL HISTORY OF DESTRUCTION, Sergei LOZNITSA; ALL THAT BREATHES, Shaunak SEN
Cannes Film Festival Dates
16 to 27 May, 2023.
Hotels in Cannes
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Flights to Cannes
Nice airport is some 27 kilometres from the heart of Cannes. Alternatively you could catch the direct train from Paris, Gare de Lyon which takes about five-and-a-half hours.
For more information on the Cannes Film Festival
Visit the official Cannes festival website. Cover image: Image Credit : Aurélien Vélia / FDC. All images provided by Festival de Cannes.
- May 16
- May 27
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- Arts Festivals, Festivals in Europe, Film Festivals
- Festival, Film, France
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