For greater than 70 years, everybody who’s anybody within the movie world — and plenty of people that need to be — have migrated to the French Riviera in Might for the most important occasion of the 12 months: the Cannes Movie Competition, which mixes glitzy, star-studded red-carpet premieres with lengthy, exhausting days of screenings, conferences, networking, and events.

Despite the fact that there are lots of apparent variations between a 12-day movie competition and an awards present, Cannes is as huge a deal because the Oscars. And whereas most individuals know the competition by title, there’s a lot in regards to the occasion that’s mysterious to to individuals who don’t work within the movie {industry}. In order the competition’s 72nd installment kicks off, operating from Might 14 to 25, 2019, listed below are solutions to eight of the most important questions you’ll have about Cannes.

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First issues first: how do you pronounce “Cannes”?

Roughly like “can” of beans (however not like “cans” of beans; as with many French phrases, the trailing s will not be pronounced). Technically, as a result of it’s French, there’s some distinction within the vowel intonation, however most English audio system received’t be capable of pull it off and get away simply tremendous with “can.”

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Should you’ve heard individuals name it “cahn,” although — and even “cahns” — you’re not alone. Loads of individuals make this error.

However in French, the phrase con is a vulgar insult descended from the identical root because the English c-word. Don’t say that.

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How does Cannes work?

Only some dozen movies are chosen to indicate throughout the competition, usually from prestigious administrators whose work has beforehand performed at Cannes. About 20 movies premiere “in competitors,” which suggests they’re competing for the highest Cannes prize: the Palme d’Or (“golden palm”), received previously by movies as various as Apocalypse Now; The Umbrellas of Cherbourg; Intercourse, Lies and Videotape; Pulp Fiction; and The Tree of Life. In 2018, the Palme winner was Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Shoplifters.


55th International Film Festival in Cannes

Michelle Yeoh, Sharon Stone, David Lynch, and Christine Hakim at Cannes in 2002.
Photograph Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Photographs

The competition’s official programming slate is split into various sections:

  • In Competitors: movies from main administrators all over the world vying to win the Palme d’Or and various different awards and designated by the competition as “arthouse cinema with a large viewers attraction.” Amongst this 12 months’s competing movies are Jim Jarmusch’s The Useless Don’t Die, Pedro Almodóvar’s Ache and Glory, Terrence Malick’s A Hidden Life, the Dardenne brothers’ The Younger Ahmed, and Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite.
  • Un Sure Regard: movies with an “unique goal and aesthetic” that can doubtless have restricted theatrical distribution however are searching for worldwide recognition.
  • Out of Competitors: movies that the choice committee needs to acknowledge however that don’t match the choice standards a way. This 12 months, one movie premiering out of competitors is the Elton John biopic Rocketman, directed by Dexter Fletcher, who completed Bohemian Rhapsody after Bryan Singer was fired from the mission. Too Previous to Die Younger, from Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn, can also be premiering out of competitors.
  • Cinéfondation: movies for college kids at present enrolled in movie college; can’t exceed one hour in size.
  • There are additionally Particular Screenings, Midnight Screenings, Tributes, and varied occasions, all of which aren’t competing for the Palme d’Or however are chosen to play throughout the competition.

There are additionally various sections that run parallel to the competition and are programmed by outdoors organizations throughout the competition. Essentially the most notable of those is the Administrators’ Fortnight (programmed by the French Administrators Guild), the place avant-garde and up-and-coming administrators are sometimes noticed. This 12 months’s Administrators’ Fortnight contains The Lighthouse, from director Robert Eggers (The Witch), and Wounds, from Babak Anvari (Below the Shadow).

The Palme d’Or winner — and the winners of seven different main prizes, together with the Grand Prix and the Prix de Jury — is picked by a jury of movie {industry} professionals. In 2019, the Function Movies jury president is director Alejandro González Iñárritu.

There are different juries too, which decide movies to obtain different specialised awards. For example, director Nadine Labaki is presiding over a jury that can choose winners from the Un Sure Regard part.


56th International Cannes Film Festival

The Carlton Resort throughout Cannes in 2003.
Photograph by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Photographs

Why is Cannes so essential?

Cannes is extensively thought of essentially the most prestigious movie competition on the planet, primarily due to its exclusivity and lengthy historical past of premiering a few of the biggest movies of all time. The competition has launched the careers of many outstanding filmmakers, like Quentin Tarantino and Steven Soderbergh.

Cannes rigorously cultivates its picture by programming a restricted variety of movies; by giving awards chosen by juries which are stacked with well-known filmmakers, actors, and composers from all over the world; and by sustaining the biggest movie market on the planet.

Profitable a prize at Cannes doesn’t assure industrial or vital success. (Did you see the 2015 Palme d’Or winner, Dheepan? Precisely.) And but it’s undoubtedly an enormous deal — it may launch a profession — and it ensures the director’s place in movie historical past. It may additionally propel a movie towards success throughout awards season, months later; The Artist, as an illustration, premiered at Cannes in 2011, the place star Jean Dujardin received the Greatest Actor award. It went on to win 5 Oscars, together with Greatest Image — the primary French movie ever to win that prize.

However Cannes’s significance extends past awards recognition; it additionally impacts which movies make it in entrance of audiences in any respect. One of the essential occasions for many Cannes attendees is the Marché du Movie, which is the world’s busiest film market. “Specialty distributors” — that’s, film distributors focusing on discovering methods to get audiences for international, arthouse, and different area of interest movies — usually make their most essential offers of the 12 months on the competition. Filmmakers who hope to search out funding and distribution for his or her movies spend their days at Cannes networking with financiers, distributors, and publicists from everywhere in the world.

Simply attending the Marché doesn’t assure something for these filmmakers, although — loads of individuals depart disillusioned. (Steve Bannon and Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson had been amongst them in 2016.) However the likelihood of distribution attracts an enormous crowd to Cannes, nonetheless.

Who will get to go to Cannes?

Not like many different essential movie festivals (equivalent to Sundance or Toronto), Cannes is an industry-only competition. Meaning screening tickets aren’t offered to most of the people. The competition grants credentials to administrators, producers, actors, publicists, distributors, and journalists, who’ve to use for a badge and be accepted. Attendees should flash their badges as a way to get into screenings. And rich traders and producers — who attend the fest celebrating their premieres or on the lookout for movies to fund — host events, lease lush resort suites and cabanas, and dock their yachts for events, contributing to the fest’s well-known nightlife.


'Money Monster' - Red Carpet Arrivals - The 69th Annual Cannes Film Festival

George and Amal Clooney attend the premiere of Cash Monster at Cannes in 2016.
Photograph by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Photographs

However although Cannes is legendary for star sightings, particularly on the purple carpet, there are methods for abnormal individuals with no badge to see movies there too. The competition performs a choice of movies for the general public on the seashore, each evening at 9 o’clock. Some movie lovers with no different connection to the movie {industry} are capable of get a Cannes Cinephile badge by being a member of a movie appreciation membership. A choice of movies by up-and-coming administrators play within the Critics’ Week part of the competition, and the competition distributes tickets for these earlier than the screenings; whereas badge holders get precedence, non-badge holders who get in line early can nab them too.

However non-badge holders with the precise wardrobe and a little bit little bit of moxie can get into screenings, and even red-carpet premieres, at a few of the competition’s largest theaters (purple carpet premieres are strictly black tie, so wanting the half is crucial). There’s an artwork to crashing Cannes, and the web is filled with recommendation.

Have I ever seen a Cannes movie? Ought to I?

Most individuals with even an informal curiosity in nice cinema have seen a movie that performed at Cannes. You’ve nearly actually seen one.

Final 12 months, as an illustration, Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlaansman received the Grand Prix (second prize) at Cannes, and Lee went on to nab an Oscar for screenwriting. Ron Howard’s Solo: A Star Wars Story additionally premiered out of competitors in 2018.

In 2015, each Pixar’s Inside Out and Mad Max: Fury Street premiered to nice acclaim. In 2016, movies like Loving and Hell or Excessive Water premiered on the competition. In 2017, Okja, The Florida Venture, The Beguiled, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Faces Locations, and You Had been By no means Actually Right here made their debut in Cannes. And over the previous 70 years, Cannes has premiered an enormous variety of the world’s most praised and beloved movies, from Taxi Driver and Blow-Up to Barton Fink and Midnight in Paris.


Alternative View - The 68th Annual Cannes Film Festival

The purple carpet for Mad Max: Fury Street at Cannes in 2015.
Photograph by Tristan Fewings/French Choose

That mentioned, simply because a movie premieres at Cannes doesn’t make it nice. Generally they even get booed. (Extra on that under.) However being chosen for Cannes is an honor that may assist propel a movie into different festivals as effectively. And in the event you see {that a} movie premiered at Cannes — particularly in competitors — there’s a powerful likelihood that it’s value seeing.

Why do individuals boo a lot at Cannes?

In a phrase: custom.

More often than not, it’s extremely uncommon to listen to boos at a movie competition — particularly at a press screening. But it surely’s a part of the panorama at Cannes, and has been for a protracted whereas. There’s no actual rhyme or purpose as to why. A movie that will get booed could possibly be genuinely dangerous, or it would simply have hit the viewers unusually. Generally a movie will get booed at Cannes and goes on to garner extensive acclaim. Generally it’s lifeless within the water.


Cannes - 'Marie Antoinette' Premiere

Kirsten Dunst on the premiere of Marie Antoinette, which was booed at Cannes in 2006.
Photograph by MJ Kim/Getty Photographs

But it surely’s only a factor that occurs at Cannes. And each time a movie receives boos — or a standing ovation, which occurs as effectively — it turns into a part of the movie’s narrative. In 2016, Olivier Assayas’s Kristen Stewart-starring Private Shopper was booed. Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette was booed, as had been two of Quentin Tarantino’s movies: Inglourious Basterds and Pulp Fiction. Even Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver was greeted with boos.

That nice movies typically get booed at Cannes is so well-known that the Brooklyn Academy of Music programmed a whole program in 2013 referred to as “Booed at Cannes.”

So in the event you hear {that a} movie has been booed at Cannes, take it with a grain of salt — and browse the evaluations.

Are they nonetheless requiring heels on the purple carpet?

In 2015, the gown code at Cannes practically prompted a world incident. Whereas a lot of the competition is informal, red-carpet premieres have a strict black-tie gown code, which accounts for a lot of the competition’s fame for glamour: fancy attire for ladies, bow ties for males.

However in 2015, a bunch of ladies of their 50s — a few of whom had medical situations — had been turned away from the screening of Todd Haynes’s Carol for not sporting excessive heels on the purple carpet. (They had been sporting rhinestone flats.)

The backlash was swift and fierce, with many individuals — together with film stars — calling it sexist. Different tales of ladies being turned away from premieres for not sporting excessive heels started to emerge. The competition’s director, Thierry Frémaux, tweeted in regards to the incident, claiming that the excessive heels requirement was an unfounded rumor. However stars and social media commenters famous that the regressive coverage was particularly ironic given how might of the movies centered on points of ladies’s equality.


'Money Monster' - Red Carpet Arrivals - The 69th Annual Cannes Film Festival

Julia Roberts arrives on the Cash Monster premiere barefoot in 2016. You go, woman.
Photograph by Andreas Rentz/Getty Photographs

The incident was nonetheless on minds in 2016, when Kristen Stewart, Julia Roberts, and Susan Sarandon all made a degree of going barefoot or sporting flats at their premieres. So whereas the black-tie gown code remains to be very a lot enforced at Cannes, it’s not going that anybody will get turned away for not sporting heels — so long as they’re nonetheless sporting glamorous footwear, in fact.

I’ve been listening to a couple of battle with Netflix. What’s that every one about?

With their transfer into unique content material, streaming companies like Netflix and Amazon have been disrupting the traditional competition system for the previous few years, and never simply at Cannes — Sundance, as an illustration, has seen a large inflow of shopping for from streaming companies these days.

In 2017, two Netflix movies had been chosen to compete for the Palme d’Or: Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Tales and Bong Joon-Ho’s Okja. Each movies later launched on Netflix and can bought a restricted theatrical launch in america, however neither was slated for theatrical launch in France.

The French movie world is nothing if not conventional, and the expertise of going to the theater is central to that custom — so central, in truth, that by legislation in France, motion pictures can’t be placed on a streaming service till 36 months after theatrical launch.

So when it turned obvious that Netflix had no intention of pursuing French theatrical launch for both of its Cannes movies, there was an outcry, particularly from the Nationwide Federation of French Cinemas (FNCF).


64th Annual Cannes Film Festival - Atmosphere and Preparations

The yachts on the harbor previous to the 2011 Cannes Movie Competition.
Photograph by Francois Durand/Getty Photographs

In response, the competition created a brand new rule that takes impact this 12 months: as a way to qualify to play in competitors at Cannes, a movie will need to have theatrical launch in France. The competition defined in a press launch:

The competition is happy to welcome a brand new operator which has determined to spend money on cinema however needs to reiterate its help to the normal mode of exhibition of cinema in France and on the planet. Consequently, and after consulting its members of the board, the Competition de Cannes has determined to adapt its guidelines to this unseen state of affairs till now: any movie that needs to compete in competitors at Cannes must commit itself to being distributed in French film theaters. This new measure will apply from the 2018 version of the Competition Worldwide du Movie de Cannes onwards.

Reed Hastings, Netflix’s CEO, voiced his displeasure in a Fb submit.

In 2018, Cannes and Netflix’s chief content material officer renewed their beef, leading to Netflix not simply being overlooked of competitors however eradicating all of its movies from each part at Cannes. You possibly can learn much more about that right here. And in 2019, the streaming large has elected to not return — although it’s nonetheless sending patrons to the competition.

All the incident will as soon as once more be a subject of ongoing arguments at this 12 months’s competition, nevertheless it additionally factors to an essential truth: The French are very severe about movie, and rightly so; the artwork of cinema owes a lot of its growth to France. So it’s becoming that the nation is the house for the world’s most prestigious movie competition. And although their dedication to custom typically runs afoul of progressive concepts about gown codes and movie distribution, there’s little doubt that Cannes will retain its spot atop the competition hierarchy for years to come back.

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