Cannes 2019: where is the main film festival of the world moving
The Cannes Film Festival as a business project is now experiencing a systemic crisis. The question is on the agenda: will Cannes retain the title of the film festival No. 1 or will they give up their positions? 2019 may be decisive
Yesterday, the ideologists of the festival, its president Pierre Lescure and the main selector Thierry Fremaux announced the list of films of the official program. This year, there is only one full-length film from Russia: “Yield” by Kantemir Balagov, a student of Alexander Sokurov. But he will also be shown out of competition - in the “Special Look” program. In addition, another official Cannes Cinefondation program, a student film school competition, will show Olesya Yakovleva, 26, from St. Petersburg University of Film and Television, with the title “Complicated” terrifying to translate. Russian films can also be found in the two main informal programs of Cannes, which have their own selectors (they have not yet announced their verdict): in the insanely popular “Two Weeks of Directors” and “Week of Criticism”.
Cannes favors our cinema. Almost every year, domestic films fight for Cannes prizes. This time we are comforted even by the fact that the 27-year-old Balagov fell into the sphere of Cannes interests. Cannes is closely watching the filmmakers who have opened to the world - here is one of the features of this festival. How much he retains other features is a big question.
The problems began when Gilles Jacob gradually began to withdraw from the leadership. Thanks to him, Festival de Cannes became what it became. Since the late 1970s, Jacob formed the Cannes program, and then took over as president. But in 2007, he gave the rights of the main selector, Thierry Fremo, and then refused the presidency. Jacob probably decided that he must do so because of his age. He never stuck out at all: unlike the presidents of other festivals, he never went on stage during the opening and closing ceremonies. Now he is 88. But he was clearly in a hurry. He remains - at least recently - in good physical condition.
About ten years ago, as a member of selected journalists from Russia, I participated in a conversation with Jacob in the modest Paris office of the Cannes festival. His office was located on the 4th floor, where without an elevator it was necessary to climb a steep spiral staircase. All of us were sweating while we got up. And Jacob came to his office daily and did not ask to transfer him to the 1st floor.
But the main thing in Jacob is an amazing taste for good cinema and an amazing sense of talent. He discovered all modern geniuses: Coen, von Trier and Tarantino, who became his favorites, Dardennov, Almodovar, Lynch, Loach, Kusturitsu, Mike Lee. Whom he didn’t open himself, he stole from other festivals: the same Sokurov and Zvyagintsev, Zhang Imou and Asgar Farhadi. As a result, the Cannes Film Festival was the only one that has its own circle of corporate directors. These are the best directors in the world, and there are at least a hundred of them.
Thanks to Jacob, the Cannes Festival has become a two-faced. Those who are poorly versed in cinema, consider it the most bourgeois, tuxedo, oyster, oriented to commercial cinema. Yes, oysters in Cannes are eaten in tons. Yes, there is a lot of glamor, although everyone is saving now, and there are no such party parties that distinguished Cannes from the 1990s. The epicenter of the festival is the red staircase in front of the main Cannes hall “Lumiere”. To light up on it under the eyes of hundreds of television and camera cameras is the goal of not only every actor, but also, for example, representatives of French business.
Some of them climb the Cannes stairs for a long time with their companions-models in brunettes for millions of euros so that they can be seen in the newspapers and TV coverage in the morning, but they don’t go to the movies: they go down the closed staircase in the next room and go out to hang out.
Thanks to the glamor, the Cannes Festival is attended, in addition to about fifty thousand professionals (film businessmen, film journalists), as well as one hundred thousand tourists, many of whom sail on ocean superliners. It’s hard for them to get into the cinema: Cannes is the only film festival that does not have ticket offices. You can enter sessions either by invitation or by accreditation. But tourists are attracted by the atmosphere itself, the hope of approaching the stars. As a result, the festival brings to the country and the city - including through hotels, restaurants, souvenir sales - up to two hundred million euros.
For what? For the cinema. And truly artistic and radical. Jacob formulated the goal of the Cannes Film Festival: to discover and promote promising names, to form the cinema of the future.
The American newspaper Variety - the main business film organ in the world - somehow made a calculation: which of the modern directors considered the best, which festival opened. This refers to the festivals that Variety refers to as the Big Five - the Big Five. It includes Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Toronto and Sundance (this is not a city, but the name of the festival in American Park City). It turned out that the vaunted Venice, with its eternal mess with a change of leadership and an unstable ideology, over the past quarter century has not revealed almost anyone. Cannes is almost all of those directors whose films the advanced viewer considers it necessary to watch.
It is interesting that in the Cannes catalog, unlike the catalogs of other festivals, there is no name of the country that generated the film. Cannes emphasizes that it is not the countries that matter to him, but the directors only.
The trouble is that Fremaux, to whom Jacob so inadvertently transferred 12 years ago the right to form a program, being a representative of new European thinking, turned out to be too politically correct. Fremos is partly related to Berlin Dieter Kosslik, whom the Germans kick out of the ass with the kick from the post of head of the Berlinale - Festival No. 2 in Europe. Kosslik was his head for almost twenty years. Well, who, unlike Jacob, did not miss the slightest opportunity to be at the festival in the spotlight of the press! Pure clown! Finished out. I don’t know what exactly Kosslik was removed for. But it was under Kosslick that driving to the Berlinale was simply silly: if Cannes relied on the best cinema, then Berlin on the cinema was ideologically correct, educational, politically literate. The topic is more important than art and even business. Just like the Moscow Film Festival of the USSR, the Berlinale could write the motto behind its banner: “For Peace, Democracy, Socialism”.
All the more incomprehensible is the position of Fremaux, who decided to compete with the Berlinale, which had clearly lost to Cannes, and on his field: the Cannes Festival also began to politicize. Yes, ignoring politics in recent years is difficult. The whole world has become politicized. But still it was necessary to observe a certain proportion between politics and contemporary art.
And then Cannes had a new president, Pierre Lescure. And he made another mistake that undermined the authority of the festival: he sharply increased the number of French films. In fact, Cannes has always supported the French film industry. If you look closely, almost all the films of the Cannes competition program, whether they are Belgian, Japanese, Russian or even American, have French money. But the actual French paintings rarely awarded the festival the main prize (not that Moscow - films from Russia). From 1966 to 2008, for example, this happened only three times: 1966 - “Man and Woman” by Claude Lelouch, 1987 - “Under the Sun of Satan” by Maurice Piala, 2008 - “Class” by Laurent Cante.
The trouble is that often the French paintings included in the Cannes competition at Lescourt turned out to be weak, although in France there is a lot of real cinema.
The new ideologists do not seem to have a clear program. They decided to return to what Jacob invented: to make a festival out of the films of the most famous directors. The competition program announced yesterday consists mainly of films by Cannes generals: Jim Jarmusch, Pedro Almodovar, Marco Belokkyo, Pon Joon-ho, the Dardenne brothers, Arno Depleshan, the young but bored Xavier Dolan, Jessica Hausner, Ken Loach, Cormeneuli Mali , Elia Suleiman.
Among the directors, whose films are selected in the second most important “Special Look”, as well as in special shows, there are also a number of generals: Bruno Dumont, Christoph Honore, Claude Lelouch, Nicholas Winding Refn, Abel Ferrara, Werner Herzog.
The jury heads of the main Cannes competitions are again generals. The main jury is headed by Alejandro González Iñárritu. The jury of “Special Look” is Claire Denis, whose film “High Society” is one of the moviegoers of the Russian box office for the past two weeks.
By the way, there is also such a question: will the festival take place? In 1968, it was the only time in history that he was crushed by the French student revolution that had come from Paris. Will the Croisette of Cannes cope with the "yellow vests"?