The Cannes Film Festival (le Festival international du film de Cannes) is held in May every year and in 2007 it will be the 60th festival.
The history of the Cannes Film Festival goes back to 1939 when Jean Zay, the French minister for Public Instruction and the Arts (Ministère de l'Instruction Publique et des Beaux-Arts), proposed a "creation of an international film event in France".
Cannes was chosen for its "sunshine and enchanting setting" according to the minister. The reason to set up a Festival in France was as a response for the effect of Mussolini's fascist take over of the Venice Film Festival. Unfortunately because of the Second World War the festival did not commence till the September 20, 1946 and was held at the former Casino de Cannes. As from 1951 the month was changed to May and it now runs for two weeks. It has run every year since 1946 with the only exception being 1948 and 1950. Every year there are thousands of movie makers who go to Cannes accompanied by nearly 4,000 journalists.
The most prestigious award given out at Cannes is the Palme d'Or (Golden Palm) for the best film. This non-public Festival is attended by numerous film stars and is a popular venue for movie producers to launch their new films and attempt to sell their works to the distributors who come from all over the world.
It is a fascinating experience to spend part of the day or evening there soaking up the atmosphere and although restaurant, hotel and bar prices are higher than normal, it is still possible to eat and drink at "normal" prices in some of the establishments away from the "main arena" that is the section along the beach - La Croisette.
Naturally hotel beds are at a premium. If you walk along the La Croisette in the early evening you will find early evening television shows being transmitted by channels like TF1 and Canal+ and as dusk draws in the visitors to the evening film showing in the Palais des Festivals et des Congres start arriving. They are dressed in: - dinner jackets - smart dresses and the film stars and their entourage arrive in a fleet of cars picking them up from their hotels and delivering them to the red carpeted steps. The cars are normally supplied by a major French car manufacturer. Men have to look smart and wear a tie, otherwise they might not be admitted.
When it is dark there is usually a public screening on the beach with a giant screen. It is a fabulous setting with the sea beyond and lazar lights illuminating the entire bay and the yachts and boats anchored in it. This can certainly be an interesting (and inexpensive) way to pass a few hours and if you don't know who is in the chamfered driven cars, there are still newsstands open where you can buy one of the popular "people's lives - celebrity" magazines.
The hundreds of film screenings that take place during the festival are not only for the privileged. There are screenings across town as well as the open air screenings. A visitor can get information from the Tourist Office.
The 59th Festival de Cannes was held on the 17th to 28th May 2006
Ken Loach the veteran director won the 2006 Palme D'Or at Cannes for his film The Wind That Shakes The Barley.(Le Vent se lève) It beat 19 other films. The film is about the early days of the IRA and stars Cillian Murphy and Liam Cunningham as two brothers in early 1920s Ireland, when volunteer guerrilla fighters rose up against the British Black and Tans.
The Grand Prix was won by Flandres by Bruno Dumont. Andrea Arnold, a new director, won the Jury Prize( Prix du Jury) for Red Road, starring Kate Dickie as a CCTV operator on a Glasgow, Scotland council estate who spots a man from her past in video footage
Some further information about Cannes: It is described by some as one of the classiest resorts on the Cote d’Azur, although very expensive and having one of the longest shopping streets in Europe, you can still find a reasonably priced hotel and meals locally.
It is has a picturesque old town overlooking the town. It has wonderful sandy beaches that are accessible from the main promenade “La Croisette” and at either end these beaches are public beaches. The area in between on La Croisette is full of beach restaurants and although you can walk past them on the sand if you want to sun bathe, you have to pay to use the facilities (loungers - chairs - umbrellas).
There is also a working fishing port contrasted by private moorings from some the most expensive yachts in the world.
If you are staying in the South of France in May a visit to the film festival makes great entertainment and can be for FREE!
In the same month you can also watch the Monaco Grand Prix - Very expensive and the less expensive Historic Monaco Grand Prix - Grand Prix de Monaco Historique that is held every other year
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Cannes Film Festival - Festival de Cannes 2012 - will take place 16-27
65th Cannes Film Festival - Festival de Cannes 2012 - will take place 16-27 May 2012
61stFestival de Cannes: from 14th to 25th May 2008
The Cannes Film Festival's Palme d'Or was won by the French production Entre les murs (The Class) on the 25th May 2008. The film, directed by Laurent Cantet, used teachers and students to chronicle a year in the life of an inner-city school. This is the first time a French film has won the Palme d'Or since Sous le Soleil de Satan by Maurice Pialat in 1987
Grand Prix GOMORRA de / by Matteo Garrone
Prize of the 61st Festival de Cannes ex-aequo Catherine Deneuve dans / for UN CONTE DE NOËL de / by Arnaud DESPLECHIN Clint Eastwood pour / for L’ÉCHANGE (The Exchange)
Award for the Best Director ÜÇ MAYMUN (Three Monkeys / Les Trois Singes) de / by Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Jury Prize IL DIVO de / by Paolo Sorrentino Prix d'interprétation masculine Benicio Del Toro dans / for CHE de / by Steven SODERBERGH
Best Performance for an Actress Sandra Corveloni dans / for LINHA DE PASSE de / by Walter SALLES, Daniela THOMAS
Award for the Best Screenplay LE SILENCE DE LORNA de / by Jean-Pierre et Luc DARDENNE
Benicio del Toro won the prize for best actor for his lead role in Guerrilla, Steven Soderbergh's biopic of Che Guevara
The President of the 2008 jury was the American actor Sean Penn