The Festival de Cannes that showcases films of all the genres including documentaries will be running this year from 8 – 19 May at French Riviera. For anyone who is related to movie business awaits this annual cinema-extravaganza event unceasing from more than seven decades now.
As the festival steps into its 71st installment, let’s unfold some lesser known things about the magnificent event and recall the journey of Indian cinema. What makes it so big and special? And how is it pronounced?
Well, just like many French words the trailing ‘S’ in Cannes is not pronounced and the vowel intonation of the word is different from how it is spelled. But for most English speakers ‘Can’ is just fine instead of ‘cahn’ or ‘cans’.
Since its inception in September 1946, Cannes is considered the most prominent film festival in the world primarily because of its star-studded premieres showcasing the greatest and diverse films in its long history.
Out of few dozen films selected by prestigious directors during the festival, films further compete for the highest Cannes prize called the Palme d’Or also known as the ‘golden palm’. In the past, movies like Taxi Driver; Apocalypse Now; The Umbrellas of Cherbourg; Sex, Lies and Videotape; Pulp Fiction; and The Tree of Life have won this award.
Over the years, many Indian filmmakers and films have also made their mark at the renowned festival that began with Chetan Anand’s Neecha Nagar (1946). Starring Kamini Kaushal and Zohra Sehgal, Neecha Nagar won the highest prize at Cannes, the Grand Prix award (now known as Palm d’Or) along with eleven of the eighteen other entries. Dealing with class differences in the Indian society the movie gained global recognition.
This journey of winning hearts and awards is been consistent with films like Bombay Talkies an anthology film consisting of four short films and Monsoon Shootout starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui which were screened at the 66th Cannes Film Festival. Irrfan Khan and Nimrat Kaur’s The Lunch Box was part of the International Critics’ Week.
In 2015, debutant director Neeraj Ghaywan’s Massan competed under the festival’s ‘Un Certain Regard’ section and had won two awards a FIPRESCI (International Federation Of Film Critics) award and a Prix de l’Avenir (a special jury prize for promising debut films). The film had also received a standing ovation from the audience.
This year also the festival is going to witness quite a splash from India. Where Nandita Das’s Manto has been officially selected under the Un-Certain Regard category, Rohena Gera’s debut feature ‘Sir’ will be premiered at La Semaine de la Critique (International Critics’ Week) competing under sidebar that runs parallel to the Cannes Film Festival. Apart from this, three Marathi films will also be showcased at the India Pavilion organized by the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting at the Cannes Film Market.