The 67th Cannes Film Festival kicked off this week, and while the sun shined down and all the stars arrived, we were good enough to stick around here and report on it via the internet, cos we’re just super thoughtful like that. In case you didn’t hear, the festival opened with the Nicole Kidman starring biopic Grace Of Monaco, detailing the life of Hollywood icon and regal beauty Grace Kelly, and apparently if you listened close enough, you could hear the laughs and boos from here, so bad was the movie.
"A fleet of ambulances may have to be stationed outside the Palais to take tuxed audiences to hospital to have their toes uncurled”, wrote The Guardian. "Is it even possible to make a boring film out of this rich, juicy, gossipy material? It would seem so. Indeed, it is almost perversely impressive how Dahan misses almost every target”, says The Hollywood Reporter.
So while folk over there endure the good, the bad and the ugly of what’s on offer, here’s a little insight behind the festival itself!
Founded way back in 1946, set up by Jean Zay, the French Minister for National Education. Those who can manage basic maths should notice that this should have made this year the 69th Cannes Film Festival, but there were two years lost early on due to budget constraints, when a new building built solely for the festival, and was promptly blown to bits during a storm.
Also, in 1968, the festival was stopped half-way through when a group of directors withdrew their entries from competition in an act of solidarity with the student and labour strikes happening in France at the time.
Grace Of Monaco isn’t the only movie to get booed at Cannes, although from the reaction of the world’s press, it’s unlikely to be regarded as a misjudged gem waiting to be rediscovered. Cult favorites such as AntiChrist, Marie Antoinette, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me were greeted negatively, but some classics such as Taxi Driver, Pulp Fiction and Tree Of Life were also given the harsh boo-ing treatment. Some others, however – The Da Vinci Code, Southland Tales, Brown Bunny – were right to receive the verbal slamming from their audiences.
FAMOUS JURY MEMBERS
This year’s jury members features some well-known famous faces such as Willem Dafoe, Sofia Coppola, Gael Garcia Bernal, Nicolas Winding Refn, all overseen by Jury President Jane Campion.
Previous Jury Presidents include Steven Spielberg, Robert De Niro, Tim Burton, Sean Penn, Quentin Tarantino, Luc Besson, Martin Scorsese, Roman Polanski and Clint Eastwood. So it’s not ALL about the isoteric, arthouse movies. Cannes is just as much about the populist cinema as it is the 1950’s set, black and white, North Korean border-clash noir drama. There’s room for everything here!
THERE ARE OVER TWENTY AWARDS TO BE WON
While there are the usual mix of awards to be won – Best Actor, Actress, Director, Screenplay – and there’s the big daddy of them all, the Palm d’Or (or The Golden Palm, for all you non-multi-lingualists) which is essentially Best Film, there’s still plenty of other awards to be won.
Grand Prix is the Special Jury Prize, but essentially known as Second Place Prize. Un Certain Regard is a competition run alongside the Palm d’Or, and is awarded to the most innovative and original works in the festival. There’s also the Queer Palm for LGBT-related movies, the Camera d’Or for Best First Feature Film, and of course the Palm Dog, for best canine performance in a movie. Previous winners include Uggie from The Artist, Baby Boy from Behind The Candelabra, and Dug from Up.
YOU’VE PROBABLY NEVER EVEN HEARD OF SOME OF THE BEST FILM WINNERS
The Palm d’Or is given to what the jury decides upon has been the best overall movie of the festival, but there’s a good chance that despite this honour, most people will have never even heard of the winner, let alone watch it when given the opportunity.
While some recent winners have gone on to find some arthouse popularity – Blue Is The Warmest Colour (2013), Amour (2012), The Tree Of Life (2011), The Wind That Shakes The Barely (2006), Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004), The Pianist (2002) – there’s also a large number of winners that most averagely knowledgeable cinema-goers wouldn’t even know about; Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010), The Class (2008), The Child (2005), The Son’s Room (2001), Rosetta (1999). The closest the Palm d’Or has ever come to recognising a general populist film was when Pulp Fiction won back in 1994, and before that, Apocalypse Now in 1979.