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This website is dedicated to everything and anything related to the Cannes Film Festival. As you can tell by the name of this website, it’s Italian. We view, connect with and process the Cannes Film Festival from a distinctly Italian cinematic perspective.
The Cannes Film Festival first started off as an international competition for everything and anything truly distinctive about international cinema. For the longest time, it really had a kind of a cult following because only people who eat, sleep and live cinema paid any attention to what happens at Cannes.
At some point in its history, it became more commercial. It’s easy to see how this happened because Cannes Film Festival truly focuses on the quality of a film. It focuses like a laser on storytelling, narration and acting ability regardless of language, country of origin or the ethnicity of the actors involved. If you’re looking for the purest film competition that really just goes to the heart of cinematic artistic expression, it’s really hard to find any better deal than the Cannes Film Festival.
Things have changed quite a bit. For the longest time, if you were some sort of cinematic or movie making purist, the Cannes Film Festival is pretty much the only game in town. While you can go to a college film revival or an art film exposition at your local college town, it’s not quite the same.
First of all, the films presented and Cannes are actually watchable. I know that’s kind of funny, but you have to understand that when you watch an art film, often times, the art is the experimentation in narration and cinematography. Just like with any other kind of experiment, a lot of the traditional narration and story presentation kind of goes out the window. If anything, it becomes a very jarring experience. Saying a lot of art films have jagged edges would be to put things lightly.
Your only choice
If you’re very serious about cinematic art and expression and storytelling, Cannes is pretty much your only choice. For the longest time, it worked because Hollywood actually has many different levels. By enlarge, Hollywood considers itself a business and just like any other business, they focus on what works.
Unfortunately, what’s popular may not be necessarily be the most artistic. What sells the best in the marketplace may not be the best vehicle for an honest, raw peek into the human heart and real human emotional ranges. There was a disconnect within Hollywood in terms of its artistic soul and there are definitely many people in Hollywood that are passionate about artistic film making and it’s more commercial priorities. Just like with any system being pulled apart by seemingly black and white polar opposite values, there is a hierarchy.
It’s easy to see who occupies the top or the apex of that pyramid. These are the Spielbergs, the big money makers. The people who throw a few million bucks into a project and turn it into a global behemoth box office machine raking in hundreds of millions of dollars.Those occupy the top rank. What about everybody else?
Art movies can actually make money
There is a tiny sliver of people who are in Hollywood because they want to produce art. Of course they stick out like a sore thumb and many people are annoyed at them, but they are definitely there. These people also produce films.The Cannes Film Festival, sooner or later, started featuring the work of the artistic segment of Hollywood. Sooner or later, thanks to the rise of Harvey Weinstein and Miramax pictures, they became a path to a lot of people that art movies can actually make money.
If you need proof of this, look at what happened to Pulp Fiction. It did really well at Cannes and it did quite well at the box office. Just because a film is artistic and it doesn’t apologize for it and it’s quite obvious about it doesn’t necessarily mean that it should be box office___. There is a happy marriage here or happy middle ground and it really blew a lot of people’s minds and this was Harvey Weinstein’s stock and trade. Now, the brand Harvey Weinstein is worth exactly 0 because of the sexual harassment and other issues he’s involved with, but we want to highlight how the sea changed in the Cannes Film Festival occurred and it’s thanks to people like Harvey Weinstein.
For every fan who’s saying that what he did was a good thing, he took art films that nobody was watching at Cannes and turned them into commercial successes. Many people would say that Harvey Weinstein is part of the problem. Art films should stay art films and commercial belong in the toilet. You really can’t please everybody but it’s during this period that the Cannes Film Festival changed dramatically.
Now, you have a big time production companies who are not in any way shape or form starved for cash passing themselves off as starving filmmakers and cranking out “underground films” This is quite a bit of a charade and it has become quite a fun little guessing game among film producers and directors in Europe to look at a film and guess which big studio is actually going to be making money off of that if it wins any significant awards at Cannes. That’s the nature of the beast currently.
As you can well imagine, there’s a little bit of a push back. A lot of people are saying that the Cannes Film Festival should remain a festival for artistic films regardless of a movie’s money making potential. It should be all about the human condition, proper narration, storytelling cinematographic composition, the whole nine yards.
Focusing on quality
Others believe that there is a happy compromise to be had here. We shouldn’t really just obsess whether a film has a big backer behind it, instead, we should just focus on its quality. The problem with that position is that it’s completely blind to the corrosive effects of money. If you’ve ever participated in any kind of art film competition, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Whenever money enters the picture, it’s going to be spent lobbying the judges towards a certain film. What’s wrong with this picture? Everything.
It's all art
The whole point of an art film competition is art. Regardless of its production budget, how much or how little it’s actors got paid, they’re supposed to pay attention to the story, how the story is executed or acted and the overall emotional depth of the film. Sure, it may seem roughly edited but that should not have been out main focus.
Unfortunately, this goes out the window whenever money enters the picture because you can bet that the judges will start looking at how slick the movie is. Is it expertly edited? Did you pay the writer enough to come up with the most polished Hollywood style script? So on and so forth. What make this really dangerous is that a lot of these assumptions are unstated. People aren’t going to come up to your face and say it. They’re going to assume it.
Voting it out
While you may not be able to see it because they assume it, you’re definitely going to feel it because they’re definitely going to be voting for stuff that Hollywood is already cranking out. In this context, the Cannes Film Festival has really become just another Hollywood pre-release show. It’s not much different from Comic Con.
If you’ve ever been to Comic Con 20 years ago, it used to be fun. There’s a lot of underground stuff, a lot of real sneak peeks to really interesting movies. Now it’s just a pre-launched public relations exercise. I don’t mean to sound negative or a hater, but this is reality.
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