Postcard from Cannes - The old always honor!
In France, the idols of film history are respected. The Cannes Film Festival in particular knows how to put the former stars in the spotlight again. This year it's director Agnès Varda and - not without controversy - Alain Delon.
A single director's chair is on stage at the glamorous opening gala. Solitary and a bit lonely. The name of Agnès Varda is written in large letters on the backrest. France's most famous director, a Belgian by birth, died a few weeks ago at the age of 90. She was a pioneer of the author's cinema, was considered the "grandmother of the Nouvelle Vague", was the recipient of an honorary Oscar, honorary palm and honorary leopard. She is repeatedly remembered at the 72nd International Film Festival in Cannes: her name is mentioned several times on the opening night alone, while her children are in the audience of the premiere.
But the most obvious gesture of appreciation is the poster of this year's festival edition: Agnès Varda while filming her first feature film in the mid-1950s. The picture that dazzles every shop window and almost every bus stop in Cannes, which is featured on every festival publication and hangs from countless flagpoles and on the facade of the Festival Palace, is bathed in golden yellow light. It shows Agnès Varda at work. However, in order to be able to look through the film camera, it is not enough that it gets on a suitcase. In order to reach the desired height, a man must also kneel on the suitcase with Varda balanced on his back.
A shaky thing and at the same time a delicate matter. Because what does this picture want to say? That the gifted director could only do her job with the help of a man? Or that she used the male members of her recording team as cheap stirrup holders? A lot can be read into the historical photo. Agnès Varda herself would surely have had an original interpretation on hand: self-ironic and tongue-in-cheek - as was her esteemed manner.
On the other hand, the decision for this year's holder of the "Honor Palm" is anything but appreciated by many. The festival management chose Alain Delon. The deserved actor had publicly admitted in the course of the MeToo debate last year that he had been violent towards women. He is also close to the extreme right in France, speaks out against immigration and incites homosexuals.
Pas de problème, according to Cannes. The festival management is convinced that the artist and the work must be separated. Festival director Thierry Frémaux recently said that Alain Delon could think what he wanted: after all, he was not awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
You would really like to have Agnès Varda back. A year ago, she stood on the red carpet in Cannes, with 81 other women, and advocated gender equality in the film industry. Perhaps she couldn't have responded to Frémaux's comment with humor and irony, but she certainly wouldn't have missed the words.