The first edition of the Cannes Film Festival finally sees the light of day, in Orléans, 80 & nbsp; years after its cancellation
The film festival should have started in & nbsp; 1939 and not in & nbsp; 1946, on the initiative of Jean Zay. The war decided otherwise, and Jean Zay was assassinated. The Cannes & nbsp; 39 event, from 12 to 17 & nbsp; November in Orléans, rehabilitates it.
The Cannes Film Festival did not come out fully armed of the year & nbsp; 1946. Its genesis, at the risk of damaging the happy history of its advent, dates less from the post-war period. In this regard, two stories compete, without necessarily contradicting each other. The first, lapidary and Hegelian, goes in the direction of history. Philippe Erlanger, director of the French Association for artistic action from 1938, then first delegate general of the Cannes Festival from 1946 to 1951, is the talented memorialist.
Present in & nbsp; 1938 to the jury of the Venice Film Festival, then discredited by his totalitarian obedience, he returned from the lagoon carrying the Cannes idea, intended to ignite the backfire of the democratic powers. Scheduled from September 1 to September 20, 1939, the first edition of the Cannes Festival is canceled due to the war. We find Erlanger at the maneuver and in the controllers for the official opening in 1946 of the festival, the history of which begins to be written.
The other approach is more complex, more rugged, more painful, less tense towards the golden legend inscribed in & nbsp; 1946 on the pediment of the institution. This story, which emerges from the slow work of historians, an event tells it today, Cannes & nbsp; 39. Under the leadership of historian Antoine de Baecque, the event, organized in Orléans, from 12 to 17 November, allows the first edition of the festival, trampled on eighty years ago by Adolf Hitler, to finally see the light of day. Thierry Frémaux, current general delegate of the Cannes Festival, deplores the paradoxical outfit of Cannes & nbsp; 39 in the prefecture of Loiret: "& nbsp; It is a great initiative, we would have been happy to welcome it to Cannes, but we n have not been contacted. & nbsp; "
Presented to the public and to a jury led by the Israeli director Amos Gitaï, the thirty films that made up this stillborn competition will be screened there, among which those of the American delegation surpass the competition. With, among others, and for the record: Only the angels have wings, from Howard Hawks, Mr. Smith in the Senate, Frank Capra, The Wizard of Oz, from Victor Fleming, or Elle et lui, from Leo McCarey. Alfred Hitchcock takes his last film under the British flag there before his installation in the United States, La Taverne de la Jamaïque.
On the Russian side, there is a collective farm musical, The Tractorists, by Ivan Pyriev, replacing at the last minute, on Stalin's orders and not necessarily in favor, Alexander Nevski, of Sergei Eisenstein. A Czech film, La Grande solution, by Hugo Haas, depicts a country that has not existed since March & nbsp; 1939. As for French films - here represented by minor works such as La Charrette fantôme, by Julien Duvivier, or L'Homme du Niger, by Jacques de Baroncelli - the best of them (La Bête humaine, by Jean Renoir, La Fin of the day, by Julien Duvivier, Le Jour se lève, by Marcel Carné) joined the Mostra, by a corporate prudence and a moral blindness which announced the national policy to come.