CANNES – Pablo Picasso taking a bath, Gina Lollobrigida who enters the Palais escorted by the police unable to contain the crowd, Jack Nicholson And Peter Fonda whizzing by motorbike on the Croisette, Alfred Hitchcock who enters the sea fully dressed for a promotional shot. They are pieces of Cannes, Morceaux de Cannes by Emmanuel Barnault, the documentary that over the weekend celebrated the 74th festival that opens tomorrow. A tribute that mixes irony and nostalgia, historical cut and sociological analysis, the result of research in the archives of the National Audiovisual Institute. In 52 minutes, without interviews or voiceovers, other than those made in the time and place of their contemporaneity, the mosaic film brings together a series of rare and sometimes unpublished sequences.
A gift for festival-goers who return to Cannes after more than two years, in the unusual period of July and mingle with holidaymakers and children who go to the beach. “The city is ready to welcome you all – said the president of the jury Pierre Lescure in June – the gigantic and magnificent large screen of the Lumière hall is ready to be illuminated again”.
It starts tomorrow night with the glam rock musical by Leos Carax Annette with two international stars of the caliber of Marion Cotillard And Adam Driver. The health protocol provides for different routes, some rooms are accessed only with the green pass (vaccine or swab) in others it is not necessary, at the moment almost all the protagonists of the films are confirmed. “We will see films made with laptops, strong themes, documentaries that address the issue of identity, the mystery of the couple, leaving, losing everything, the strength to fight – announced the delegate Thierry Fremaux – This year we will make a nice journey through new forms and a lot of poetry “.
The missed edition of 2020 rhymes with the missed one of 1968 even if the reasons are naturally very distant. In Barnault’s documentary you can see the Palais occupied, the jury (where ours should have sat too Monica Vitti) who resigns, the festival that skips for political reasons while all of France is shaken by the student and worker movement.
The following year at the festival there will be the film on Woodstock which brings the students to color the Palais with their hippie clothes, the great return of Truffaut even with three films and the – historic – victory of two Italians ex aequo for the Palme d’Or: they are Francesco Rosi with The Mattei case And Elio Petri with The working class goes to heaven “two films that deal with political and social reality” explains Rosi in good French in doc.
Sixteen years later it is in Cannes Sergio Leone for Once upon a time in America: “There is a big crisis, not only economic in our country … a crisis of ideas and authors … I am convinced that cinema will disappear”, he says provocatively. The world pandemic has not managed to make it disappear, the festival aims to demonstrate that cinema is alive, that the public is ready to return to close itself in the dark room.
Of the nearly two thousand films that made it to the festival’s selection committee in the end, about a hundred will be seen, including 24 in the running for La Palma attributed by the jury chaired by Spike Lee. Among them there is Three floors by Nanni Moretti, twenty years after La Palma a Son’s room. But the one in the “Cannes pieces” is not there.