Considered the most important film competition in the world, due to the inclusion and diversity it offers in its different areas, the Cannes Film Festival will celebrate the start of its 75th edition today, trying to return to social normality after in 2020 its edition was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic and that in 2021 a controlled edition was held in which there were very few guests.
On this occasion, the festival that will take place on the French Riviera from May 17 to 28, will bet on carrying out an edition, even with the use of face masks, which is talked about in style due to its already accustomed varied cinematographic offer that includes, from the most authorial, to the most commercial.
Within the first category we will find the participation of the Japanese Hirokazu Koreeda with his film Broker, the Romanian Cristian Mungiu with RMN or the South Korean Park Chan-wook with Decision to Leave. While within the most commercial Top Gun: Maverick will be presented, starring Tom Cruise; Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis, which features the work of Austin Butler and Tom Hanks, as well as Armageddon Time with Anne Hathaway and Anthony Hopkins.
Adding to the political context that we have recently experienced, this edition eliminated Russian participation with government ties within its offer and gave weight and visibility to Ukrainian film proposals such as Sergei Loznitsa’s documentary, The Natural History of Destruction.
This position that the organizers of the event have taken against the war is a clear nod to the foundations that shaped the Cannes Film Festival, since it was born just as a response to the impending Second World War.
In 1938, barely six years old, the Venice Film Festival, through its representatives, had a clear tendency towards the propagandistic ideas of Adolf Hitler and supported him in his political ideas. Faced with this situation, a handful of men who had actively participated in Venice decided to hold a festival that would counteract this political tendency and give creative freedom to its exponents, actors and filmmakers.
That was how, in September 1939, everything was ready for the Cannes Film Festival to start and stars such as Tyrone Power, Gary Cooper, Mae West or Douglas Fairbanks would arrive on the French Riviera. learning that Germany had invaded Poland and days later war was officially declared, so all the guests returned home.
After several years and rescheduling due to the war, the Cannes Festival could be held formally on September 20, 1946 with a total of 68 short films and 45 feature films from 19 countries.
Within that offer was programmed the Mexican film María Candelaria, by Emilio El Indio Fernández; Rome, Open City, by Roberto Rossellini or Gilda, by Charles Vidor.
From that moment on, the Cannes Festival positioned itself year after year as the most important in the world and in which films of great manufacture and broad themes were presented that broke the merely commercial gaze.
Likewise, media attention has always been present due to the stars that have come together and that have marked each edition, such as when the French actress Brigitte Bardot caused a furor in 1953 when she was seen on the beach wearing a bikini, a sign of protest against to machismo and conservative norms or as when in 1961, the Soviet Yuliya Solntseva was the first director to win Best Direction for The Story of The Flaming Years. After her, Sofia Coppola won Best Director for her in 2017 and in 1993 Jane Campion became, to date, the only woman to win the Palme d’Or for her film El piano de ella.
In other moments of protest, it is remembered when in 2016, Julia Roberts paraded the red carpet and climbed the 24 steps completely barefoot in response to the fact that a year earlier a group of women was removed from the screening of Carol for not wearing heels and breaking the festival dress code.
In 1960, writer Henry Miller refused to wear a tuxedo and was banned from opening the event. Three years later, Italian actress Claudia Cardinale drew attention for walking the beaches of Cannes with a cheetah to promote her film The Leopard. Another who caused a stir was the actor Sasha Baron Cohen who walked the streets in 2007 wearing a green one-piece swimsuit, just like his character Borat does in the homonymous film.
The films Irreversible, by Gaspar Noé and Voraz, by Julia Ducournau, caused many people to leave theaters in 2002 and 2016, respectively, due to the scenes of sexual violence in the former and the scenes of cannibalism in the latter.
The contest has been cancelled, in addition to 1939, in 1948 and 1950 due to lack of budget, in 1968 due to the student protests that took place in France and in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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