CANNES FESTIVAL – When a 75-year-old grandpa starts talking about “djeun’s”, it often starts with a good intention but it’s always a bit embarrassing. This is the impression left by this 75th edition of the Cannes Film Festival which ends this Saturday, May 28.
Because while Vincent Lindon and his jury spent a fortnight watching the 21 films in competition to award their Palme d’Or –Armageddon Time by James Gray and Tchaikovsky’s Wife by Kirill Serebrennikov particularly caught our eye – the high mass of cinema had a whole other challenge to take up: to find a new youth.
Replacing Canal+ with France Télévision and Brut to broadcast its opening and closing ceremonies, sealing a partnership with the favorite social network for teens and ultra-short video paradise TikTok… “It’s clearly a new positioning to rejuvenate brand image of the festival so as not to make it an event for boomers”, commented for The HuffPost Chloé Delaporte, teacher-researcher in socio-economics of cinema and audiovisual at Paul-Valéry University in Montpellier. So we went to see what happened on the spot.
The HuffPost offers you a series of articles and videos made from Cannes throughout the duration of the festival.
Cannes, paradise for Instagrammers
While Swedish filmmaker Ruben Östlund presented in competition Triangle of Sadness (Without filterin VF) an enjoyable satire on a couple of influencers on board a luxury cruise where nothing goes as planned, scenes not so far away were played out in real life.
A few tens of kilometers from the Palais des Festivals, the social network Instagram had invested for two days in one of the most expensive residences in Europe: the Palais Bulles by Pierre Cardin, an architectural UFO imagined by the Hungarian architect Anti Lovagg at the late 1970s.
In the countless rooms or on the terraces of this completely unusual place, more than 300 influencers from all over the world competed with selfies and videos. All of which, inevitably, ended up in stories and albums on the social network without much connection with the 7th art elsewhere.
See our report here
TikTok, it’s wrong
After having dumped its historic partnership with Canal+ in favor of a surprising hitch between the public service (France Television) and the online media Brut, the Cannes Film Festival had also surprised by sealing a partnership with TikTok.
Except that for its premiere on the red carpet, the “TikTok” generation was deprived of smartphones since one of the golden rules of the festival prohibits photos or selfies on the steps, reserved for professional photographers. If Omar Sy granted himself a free pass on the evening of the screening of Top Gun: Maverickthe young creators had to content themselves with sharing the backstage of their preparation and the other moments of the effervescence in Cannes.
Read our article here
And the brand new TikTok jury was also disturbed. On the eve of rewarding the best videos from 30 seconds to 3 minutes, Rithy Panh, Franco-Cambodian filmmaker and president of the jury, resigned citing the insistence of the platform to impose its suggestions.
“I believe that TikTok understood what a jury was and they decided to take a step back and offer us our independence”, finally confided the director to the HuffPost by rejoining the jury.
But if the ceremony for handing over these Palmes TikTok finally took place, it was in the noticeable absence of Thierry Frémeaux, the director general of the Cannes Film Festival, whose presence had nevertheless been announced for weeks.
See our interview with Rithy Panh, president of the TikTok jury:
For or against Netflix? Nobody agrees in Cannes
The other symbolic movement of this Cannes Film Festival is the change of presidency. Iris Knobloch, a lawyer with an international profile and a long career in cinema, also the first woman to chair this festival, will succeed Pierre Lescure for the next three editions.
Far from the profiles of her predecessors, Iris Knobloch has spent most of her career at Warner, one of the main American studios, where she notably prepared the launch of HBO Max in Europe. So inevitably, this augurs for change. With on everyone’s lips the idea that films created by and broadcast on streaming platforms can (re)enter Cannes.
While the great authors no longer hesitate to go on the platforms (Scorsese or Jane Campion at Netflix, soon Ridley Scott at Apple…) and their films triumph at the Venice Film Festival or the Oscars, we asked festival-goers what they thought of the strict measure which for the time being prohibits Netflix or Amazon films from competing. And their opinions are all very divided.
Watch what they think below:
Cannes celebrates cinema, but cinema attendance does not go up
Behind these hesitant, sometimes clumsy changes, there is a final objective. By rejuvenating its audiences, the Cannes Film Festival – largely supported by public funds – also hopes to rejuvenate, in turn, “cinema audiences by bringing the youngest to theaters”, analyzed for The HuffPost Chloé Delaporte, author of the book The culture of reward: competitions, festivals and film awards.
An intention confirmed by the new Minister of Culture, Rima Abdul Malak, appointed on May 20 and descended on Cannes for one of her first official trips. After having met “all the representatives of the cinema sector”, the resident of rue de Valois assured BFMTV that “the challenge is to bring a new generation to cinemas for the years to come, and not just there at the start of the school year to save the year 2022.”
At a time when cinema in theaters is getting old, accelerated by two years of the Covid crisis and bearing the full brunt of competition from series and streaming, the exhibitors we interviewed in Cannes describe the Festival as “a parenthesis” while nearly one in two French people (48%) admits to having returned to the cinema less often since the reopening of theaters.
See our report here:
See also on The HuffPost: Khaby Lame, star of the Cannes Film Festival but unknown to festival-goers