Tuesday, May 17, 2011

4PLAY: TAMPA - Cannes thoughts... PT01

We came, we saw, we left exhausted. A few snapshots from our whirlwind trip to Cannes for the beginning of the Directors Fortnight section. For those of you who don't know, the Directors Fortnight was founded in 1968 to “defend artistic, moral, professional and economic freedom in filmmaking, and to participate in the development of new cinema structures.” See this great Scout Foundas article for more on its founding.

It today still is the bastion of the new, the unknown and the disposed of cinema while the Palais du Cinema down the street at the official festival is still the "establishment," where the big Hollywood behemoths compete with the international cinema cultural lions in the circus that is Cannes. Underground, hidden underneath the Palais is the open secret of what the official festival really is about, the Marche du Cinema, the market place of big money where films are bought and sold and entrepreneurs hawk their wares. The hierarchy of architecture though still prevails in Cannes (as in all cities) with most big sales occurring in the pent-house suites of film sales companies that most film goers wouldn't be able to ever name (e.g. Celluloid Dreams, the Wild Bunch, et al).

Is it a festival of cultural exchange or a center of hoary economic transactions? As a very little ant among the ants on the Croisette, I was happy to find that the Directors Fortnight hadn't changed since I was last there and was still a refuge for cineastes to gather away from the storm, to watch the work of young unknowns with something to say about the world in new ways, and to honor the hard work and frighteningly vulnerable position each new film and filmmaker puts themselves in when they share their films with the world. The Fortnight is not a church, or a marketplace, but a showcase and a gathering point for filmmakers and cineastes to gather, compare notes and disperse again to the far corners of the earth.

I felt privileged we could be in the presence of such a revitalizing gathering. More about the films we saw in the next post. - Kyle

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