What The Festival?

Exactly what the fuck is the Cannes Film Festival? Or more importantly, why the fuck?

Why would all of Hollywood’s elite choose to trek 6060 miles to a country with stricter press laws, more controls on paparazzi, a more relaxed attitude to narcotics and prostitution, a non-formalised extradition process and a lower age of consent than the USA?  Well, it’s a puzzle!

It can’t just be for the fluffy bath robes, lockable doors and plentiful potted plants that all these five star hotels provide.

Buyers, sellers, distributors, producers, directors, suppliers, actors and agents.  They all come every year.  Why?


The answer is you and me.  Or rather, the complete lack of you and me.


See nowadays popular culture creates “stars” at an alarming rate.  If you present the weather, you are a star.  Get your tits out on reality TV and you are a star.  Come third in a singing contest on TV, you are a star.

This worries people who get paid vast amounts of money to play dress up and make believe while reading lines other people have written for them.  It’s a threat.  In an age when star power is diminished like never before, even Tom Cruise can’t make a movie a hit unless it’s got the words “Mission Impossible” in the title.  Classically trained actors are slipping into tights and capes to keep the lights on in their mansions.

But Cannes?

Only filmmakers and industry insiders get to walk up the iconic red-carpeted steps at the Palais des Festivals for the black-tie-only premieres.  Only specially selected press gets past the barriers. Tickets aren’t for sale to the general public. The right parties only invite the right people.  The right people only go to the right parties.  A closed shop.

No normos allowed.  No public.  Just talent and talent makers.  No reality TV stars.  No glamour models.  No boy-bands from American Idol.

So every year for eleven days in May, the entire industry gets to make itself feel special again.  It’s like the glory days of the Golden Age of Cinema.  The glamour, the dresses, the yacht parties, the Mediterranean setting surrounded by nobody but people like them.  Shit, now I want to go!


They are determined to keep cinema special.  The art must not be diluted.  There was a stir this year when Netflix pulled all it’s content from the exhibition.   The competition changed it’s rules to ban any films which did not receive a French cinematic release.

Netflix could have exhibited out of competition, as Neo-Lucasfilm is doing with Solo: A Star Wars Story.  Once again Neo-Lucasfilm demonstrating their masterful understanding of their core audience.  Still, at least the writers’ room will all get to wear their prettiest dresses, right?  Makes me wish ol’ Harvey was still on the prowl down there.

Correctly though, Netflix decided this would be pointless and hypocritical given their operating medium.


2,000 movies are submitted, few are chosen.

It takes a special kind of movie maker to expertly blend just the right amount of lack of mass-market appeal, virtue signalling, kookiness, artfulness in the place of coherence and Continental snobbery to create a potential nominee.

Here’s the official list:


Everybody Knows (d. Asghar Farhadi)
En Guerre (d. Stephane Brize)
Dogman (d. Matteo Garrone)
Le Livre d’Image (d. Jean-Luc Godard)
Netemo Sametemo (Asako I & II) (d. Ryusuke Hamaguchi)
Plaire Aimer et Courir Vite (d. Christophe Honore)
Les Filles du Soleil (d. Eva Husson)
Ash Is Purest White (d. Jia Zhang-Ke)
Shoplifters (d. Kore-Eda Hirokazu)
Capharnaum (d. Nadine Labaki)
Buh-Ning (Burning) (d. Lee Chang-Dong)
BlacKKKlansman (d. Spike Lee)
Under the Silver Lake (d. David Robert Mitchell)
Three Faces (d. Jafar Panahi)
Zimna Wojna (Cold War) (d. Pawel Pawlikowski)
Lazzaro Felice (d. Alice Rohrwacher)
Yomeddine (d. A.B. Shawky)
Leto (d. Kirill Serebrennikov)


Solo: A Star Wars Story (d. Ron Howard)
Le Grand Bain (d. Gilles Lelouche)


Ten Years in Thailand (d. A. Assarat, W. Sasanatieng, C. Sriphol and A. Weerasthakul)
The State Against Mandela and the Others (d. Nicolas Champeaux & Gilles Porte)
To the Four Winds (d. Michel Toesca)
Le Traversee (d. Romain Goupil)
O Grande Circ Mistico (d. Carlo Diegues)
Pope Francis – A Man of His Word (d. Wim Wenders)
Dead Souls (d. Wang Bing)
Arctic (d. Joe Penna)
Gongjak (The Spy Gone North) (d. Yoon Jong-Bing)


Long Day’s Journey Into Night (d. Bi Gan)
Little Tickles (d. Andrea Bescond & Eric Metayer)
Sofia (d. Meyem Benm’Barek)
Grans (Border) (d. Ali Abbasi)
Guele d’Ange (d. Vanessa Filho)
Girl (d. Lukas Dhont)
A Genoux les Gars (Sextape) (d. Antoine Desrosieres)
Manto (d. Nandita Das)
Euphoria (d. Valeria Golino)
Rafiki (d. Wanuri Kahiu)
My Favorite Fabric (d. Gaya Jiji)
The Harvesters (d. Etienne Kallos)
In My Room (d. Ulrich Kohler)
El Angel (d. Luis Ortega)
The Gentle Indifference of the World (d. Adilkhan Yerzhanov)

So In Conclusion

After reading that list, I can’t be bothered anymore.  I am off to watch that trailer of Jason Statham staring in a hard, manly way at a big-ass shark!  That seems like a much better use of movie going time.

The 2018 Cannes Film Festival will begin May 8th and run through May 19th.  You won’t care though.  You have a real job.