Cannes Official Selection Line-Up Overview with Digressions You Won’t Find Anywhere Else | Festivals & Awards

Baseball season has recently begun in the U.S. so here’s some inside baseball on new Festival developments. For a quarter of a century, pioneering French pay cable station Canal Plus covered the event, meaning the Opening and Closing ceremonies and everything in-between. That long-running partnership has ended and France’s public TV network, France Televisions, is the new official television partner.  

By the time the Film Festival begins, the world will know who the President of France will be for the next five years. Emmanuel Macron (who was 10 years old the first time I went to Cannes for the Festival, in 1987) wishes to eliminate the token fee collected from almost every household in France that goes to help fund the nation’s mostly enviable public television and radio services. Macron’s challenger, extreme right wing demagogue Marine Le Pen thinks it would be a good idea to privatize said public service. 

The Festival du Film has struck up a new partnership with Tik Tok.

Tikety tikety tok

Between hard place and rock

The fest renews

Its online views

Tikety tikety tok

If, like me, you wonder whether algorithms should be filed under Friend or Foe, you might want to take temporary refuge in another new Festival sponsor, Campari.

I mention these commercial ventures because they illustrate how much the festival has evolved from its long-ago goal of being an artistic bulwark against creeping Fascism as demonstrated by Italy’s Venice Film Festival. And I’m tempted to say that the cash needed to acquire one pair of those sneakers could have fed a Cannes family of four for a very long time back in 1939. (That first festival, slated for September, was called off when Germany invaded Poland which helps explain why this is the 75th edition although it has been 83 years since the idea for a juried film event on the French Riviera was first put into practice.)

Cannes will mark its 75th edition with a symposium, during which filmmakers will “reflect on their profession—which once entailed making films in 35mm for theaters. What is it becoming now?,” asked Fremaux.

In 1982, Wim Wenders invited a mouth-watering cross-section of international filmmakers into a Cannes hotel room, and, with a 16mm camera running, asked the likes of Steven Spielberg, Jean-Luc Godard, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Werner Herzog, Michelangelo Antonioni, Susan Seidelman and Paul Morrissey whether cinema was a dying language. Four decades later a filmmaker named Lubna Playoust has been commissioned to repeat the exercise.