Every year, there are 12 days in the month of May when all looks are turned to the French Riviera and particularly to the Cannes Film Festival, which generously offers plenty of films, but also plenty of emotions.
And this year was not an exception – there was anticipation, excitement, music, nominations, petitions, scandals, glamour… there was everything! We decided to tell you about the already finishing 72nd Film Festival not through the sumptuous dresses and elegant suits from the red carpet, but through the people… and through their emotions. Because it is namely emotions that we are going to remember after time goes by…
“The Grandmother of the French New Wave” and her sunny fairy tale
This year’s Film Festival took place without the famous film director Agnès Varda, who passed away at the end of March. The organisers, however, had decided to pay homage to the 90-year-old Belgian, called “the Grandmother of the French New Wave”, by using her picture for the official poster of the 72nd edition of the event. Thanks to this decision it seemed like Varda and the light she spread around were present at all cinema halls and all receptions.
The picture used for the poster is from 1954, when Agnès Varda was barely 26 years old but had already directed her first film La Pointe Couture. The shot captures how she is sitting on the shoulders of a technician while she is looking through her camera towards the beach of Sète in France and everything around them is showered in the colours of the sunset.
Agnès Varda is a woman who has left her bright mark on French cinema in general as well as the festival itself. Her films have been shown during the official selection of the festival for a total of 13 times. In 2005, she is a member of the main jury in Cannes and in 2013 she is one of the judges awarding the Golden Camera, which she herself owns. She also becomes the first woman to be awarded the Honorary Golden Palm Award in 2015. Her absence was deeply felt and it is yet to be…
Once upon a time in… Cannes
Precisely a quarter century after Quentin Tarantino won a Golden Palm for Pulp Fiction and literally rewrote the history of independent film, he now came back to Cannes with one of the most anticipated films of the year. Once upon a Time in… Hollywood gathers together in one place Leonardo DiCaprio, Quentin Tarantino and Brad Pitt. And yes, even by judging this team only, it is quite safe to say how gorgeous this film actually is! So gorgeous that after the end of the film the audience stood up and expressed their excitement with more than 5 minutes of enthusiastic applause. Tarantino, in return to these genuine emotions, gave the audience what they had expected – the greeting with two fingers in front of the eyes which became popular after Uma Thurman and John Travolta’s famous dance in Pulp Fiction.
It is a curious fact that when the first programme of the festival was announced in April, the film was still not completed which made a lot of cinema fans believe that they were not going to see Tarantino in Cannes this year. But thanks to a lot of hard work in the face of the director, however, the film managed to get on the train to the festival literally at the last minute. What else could we say apart from, “Thank you, Quentin!”?
Two Eltons and a rocket
The arrival of Elton John himself for the premier of his musical biography Rocketman was an exceptional event whichever way you look at it. The singer had a slight limp, probably because of some pain in the leg, but in spite of this fact he didn’t refuse to stand for a brief photoshoot on the renowned red carpet of the festival, where we witnessed yet another thrilling moment. Taron Egerton, who plays the leading role in Rocketman, kneeled down next to his idol to tie his shoe laces.
Elton’s style was still that inimitable – a blazer with sequins on the back, a rocket brooch on the lapel and heart-shaped sunglasses… What else could we expect from him apart from glamour and sequins? Oh, well, yes – feathers! There were no feathers on the carpet, but there are plenty of them in the film! We guarantee!
And while on the subject of the film – it quite expectedly thrilled both the audience and Elton John himself. The famous pop singer managed to hold back his tears while the fans were expressing their fascination with the film, but after the British actor Taron Egerton, who played Sir Elton John in the film, shared his emotions about the whole process, tears inevitably started flowing out of his eyes as a natural response to this sentimental moment.
The afterpartyfollowing the premiere, apparently, was also quite memorable. This was taken care of by Elton John, Taron Egerton and a piano as they performed several songs from the soundtrack of the film… There is only one word that can describe all this – ‘unique’. Unique!
(Un)Expected for the festival
There could hardly be given an example of a festival held in Cannes that ended without any major scandal. This year, the reason for the scandal was Tunisian director AbdellatifKechicheand more precisely his film Mektoub, My Love: Intermezzo, which, apart from being the longest film on the festival’s list – a whole 3 hours and 28 minutes – was also announced as the most scandalous one.
The viewers who witnessed the official screening of the film left the cinema hall halfway through the film with the reason for this being a too long scene, openly depicting sexual content.
Such types of scenes are not a surprise when we have Kechiche in mind. Six years ago, he was awarded with a Golden Palm for his film Blue Is the Warmest Colour, which cause basically the equal amount of dispute among film critics.
“I’m leaving film and… life”
Everything revolving around this year’s festival was emotional, but the mightiest wave of emotions was undoubtedly caused by awarding Alain Delon with the Honorary Golden Palm.
The award was presented to the great actor by his daughter Anushka, who called him a ‘fighter’ while tearful Delon asked the audience for forgiveness. He explained that no matter how hard it was for him to leave, he was going to, but not without expressing his gratitude. And he was grateful… in a way that will be remembered for years!
And in case you decide that this occasion went without a scandal, then you will be wrong. Before the ceremony, the organisers had to deal with the urgent situation on an American petition against Delon that had gathered 20 000 signatures blaming the actor and calling him a “racist, homophobe and misogynist”.
We can neither deny nor confirm how controversial Alain Delon is in his private life outside film, but we can definitely admire the fact that he is not afraid to look back into the past, to show his emotions, to recap and to ask for forgiveness… not from anybody else, but from the highest judge – the audience. The same audience that doesn’t merely remember him, but loves him deeply. And for the rest, just like the artistic director of the festival in Cannes – Thierry Fremaux explained, “The festival simply awards an actor with the Honorary Golden Palm and it doesn’t nominate him for the Noble Prize of Peace!” And it’s true… it is simply an award for merit! Deserved in an honourable way, many times!
Text: Annie Georgieva