The Cannes Film Festival between the archetypes of the past and the innovations of the present

The wait is almost over. The 75th edition of the Cannes Film Festival will start on May 17th and end on May 28th with the awarding of the winners. The splendid French town is ready for the arrival of numerous spectators, ready to watch films and see cinema idols with their own eyes.

Cannes is one of the most important and prestigious film events globally and every year numerous films of various nationalities participate in the competition.

The festival was conceived by Philippe Erlangen, director of the Association française d’action Artistique, as a French response to the Venice Film Festival and as a symbol of free cinema. The first edition should have taken place in September 1939 but the onset of the war led to the cancellation of the event.

It was finally organized, in 1946, at the Cannes Casino, conquering a large audience. To try to mitigate the rivalry with the Venice Film Festival, it was decided to move the event from September to May. In 1947 the famous Palais Croisette was built, which hosted the festival until its demolition. The prestige of the festival grew over the years, thanks to the acclaimed films presented and also thanks to the presence of illustrious personalities from the world of entertainment.

The 1968 edition was very turbulent. Following the demonstrations organized across the country, many jurors, including Monica Vitti, resigned and Louis Malle, resigning member of the jury, François Truffaut, Roman Polański, Jean-Luc Godard and others asked for the screenings to be stopped as a gesture of solidarity with the strikers. The festival was stopped early and no prizes were awarded.

There were changes in the 1970s. Two separate committees were created to select French and foreign films, la Caméra d’Or (award for first-time directors) and the glorious section Un Certain Regard (original works). Over the years the festival has increasingly opened up globally and has become a focal point of committed and independent cinema.

This year there will be eighteen films in competition, among which two Italian directors excel: Mario Martone with “Nostalgia” and Valeria Bruni Tedeschi “Les Amandiers”, film currently among the favorites. To excel for the Palme d’Or there are also the films: “Armageddon time” by James Graycon, starring Anne Hathaway and Anthony Hopkins, e “Crimes of the future” by David Cronenberg with Kristen Stewart and Viggo Mortensen.

He recently had the French title of the play discussed “Final Cut” by Michel Hazanavicius: “Z (comme Z)”. The title was bitterly contested by the Ukraine Institute, as the Z was used as a pro-Russian invasion symbol in the war in Ukraine, and was asked to change it. Following this, the title was changed to “Coupez!”.

The jury was recently confirmed and the president will be French actor Vincent Lindon, starring in “Titane”, a film that last year won the Palme d’Or. The jury will include, among the many, the actress Noomi Rapace, the director Rebecca Hall, the Oscar winner Asghar Farhadi and also the local actress Jasmine Trinca. Curiously, the Trinca made its debut in Nanni Moretti’s film “Son’s room”film awarded with the Palme d’Or in 2001. It will be up to them to choose and reward the best film.

The most prestigious award of the festival is the Palme d’Or, dedicated to the best film. It was introduced in 1955 and its shape has been drawn several times over the years. La Palma is made of 24 karat gold and mounted on a crystal block. Equally important is the Grand Prix, destined for the most original film.

Like every year, there was a great publicity and promotion of the event. However, the official poster, a tribute to “The Truman show” the film directed by Peter Weir, which has now become cult. In the film, Jim Carrey plays Truman Burbank, a man with a seemingly perfect life, who discovers he is the protagonist of some sort of reality watched by thousands of people around the world and that, therefore, everything he has ever experienced has been nothing but a lie.

The poster depicts the protagonist in one of the most poetic scenes of the film; Jim / Truman touches a cloudy sky by climbing the steps of a staircase, at the end of which he will find the exit from the fictional world in which he grew up.

Also for the Rome Film Festival, held from 14 to 24 October last, a cinematic tribute was chosen as the theme of the poster: the iconic Uma Thurman in “Kill Bill: Volume 2” by Quentin Tarantino.

These tributes are based on two wonderful films, entered the collective imagination of many people, whose choice was not at all casual.

Uma Thurman transmits energy and strength. Her character, Beatrix Kiddo, is a free and determined woman, whose actions are driven by strong feelings such as anger, love and, above all, revenge. A possible exhortation to restart cinema with the same tenacity and strength, despite the difficulties. Truman, on the other hand, portrays change, curiosity and truth. The use of this film was explained in a note from the Cannes Film Festival:“The Truman Show is a modern reflection of Plato’s cave and the decisive scene urges viewers not only to experience the boundary between reality and its representation, but to reflect on the power of fiction, between manipulation and catharsis. Just as Truman escapes the falsehood as he climbs, the Festival, with its famous ascending red carpet, offers viewers the truth of the artists when they enter the theater “

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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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