WINDOW ON UK/EUROPE
55th Cannes Film Festival
May 15 - 26
GlobalomNet Media Service
Festival de Cannes was one of the main international media events of the
year, with 4,000 accredited journalists - over 50% from the international
press - and over 1,500 media from approximately 75 countries.
festival also celebrated its 55th edition with choice first-time
offerings. One is its Seaside Cinema with a huge open air screen on the
Cannes beach, adjoining the main festival complex. Here select festival
films were screened for film buffs against a picturesque seafront.
highlight of the film fest was celebrated Cannes officio, Gilles Jacob’s
compilation in half-hour segments of the festival’s golden moments in
its five decades of existence. These segments punctuated main festival
screenings, started on the opening night itself.
The 55th Cannes Film Festival opened with accolades for the reclusive Woody Allen, who at age 66, attended Cannes for the first time, thrilling organizers who gave him a lifetime achievement award given only once in the past - to Ingmar Bergman.
is a cult filmmaker in France and his films have been screened
consistently at Cannes. When asked why he made the exception, he said that
he has always been aware of France’s support and recognition of artists
such as jazz players, painters and filmmakers from the US, and he felt
that he should finally reciprocate, specially as his film ends with a bow
to France for this very fact. He was overwhelmed by his fan following.
Modest, quiet and thoughtful at the press conference, he fielded every
question with care and got the festival off to a grand start.
Chaplin flew in to preside over a tribute being paid to her father,
and by way of high honour, Indian filmmaker Murali Nair was on this
year’s Camera d’Or jury. Nair has been a regular frontliner in Cannes
ever since his short film Tragedy Of An Indian Farmer competed in 1996.
Three years later, he won the Camera d’Or for his Throne Of Death. Now
he is on the jury chair instrumental in handing out the prize to this
given Sunday at the 55th Cannes Film Festival, selected by a nine-member
jury headed by U.S. director David Lynch:
d'Or (Golden Palm): The Pianist, Roman Polanski, Poland-France
Prize: The Man Without a Past, Aki Kaurismaki, Finland
Prize: Divine Intervention, Elia Suleiman, Palestinian
Prize - Ex for short film: A Very Very Silent Film, India, Manish Jha
A Very Very Silent Film
short film, previously shown at 15th Singapore International
Film Festival in April 2002, won Jury Prize – Ex for short film.
debut piece by 23-year old Manish Jha, this powerful and terse film
silently hits home with the message of social ills that plague the lives
of poverty-stricken women. In its narrative, one more homeless woman has
died on the street, after a life of probable mental and physical
exploitation. Jha states perhaps in her death, the exploitation has come
to an end, however, this is not the case.
the Cannes film festival, spotlight was turned on India, an acceptance of
Bollywood having come of age. A tribute was paid to Bollywood with a
leading hotel foyer dressed up to look like a Bollywood set with stills,
posters, silks and satins.
though India is the biggest film producer in the world, Indian films have
rarely made an appearance at Cannes. Variety’s Derek Elley carried an
exclusive piece headlined “Bollywood adds spice to the festival”
referring to the showing of Indian films this
festival paid a tribute to Raj Kapoor, late doyen of the Hindi film
industry, screening Aag (1948), Barsaat (1949) and Awaara (1951). This was
perhaps the first time that Cannes honoured a dead filmmaker.
During her trip last year, Sushma Swaraj, Information and Broadcasting minister, had held extensive discussions with the Cannes organizers about raising the profile of Indian participation at the Cannes film festival. The idea to hold a tribute-cum-retrospective of Kapoor was first discussed during the visit.
India party was organised at the Carlton Hotel to welcome Randhir Kapoor,
representative of the Raj Kapoor tribute.
two members of the Kapoor clan, who are also the most popular names in the
Indian industry today — Karisma and Kareena Kapoor — will represent
Raj Kapoor on the famous Montees des Marches, where the personality being
honored walks up red-carpeted steps to receive his award.
Indian Government sponsored a much bigger pavilion at the festival. A
string of Indian cultural and
cuisine events have been organized to bring the Indian flavor to Cannes.
was also present in a big way at the festival. A record number of Indian
film industry professionals turned up at Cannes this year, for marketing
their films at the world’s largest buyer-seller meeting for the film
the first time since 1964, Bollywood productions were shown in Cannes.
Mukta Arts Ltd’s Taal was screened at the Cannes Film Festival on May
20. Also shown was Yash-Karan Johar’s Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham.
Leela Bhansali’s Devdas – a remake of the classic drama Devdas - was
India's main offering at this year's Cannes Film Festival.
were two Indian shorts in competition as well. In addition to Manish
Jha’s modest 16mm A Very, Very Silent Film, in the main competition,
there was, in the Student section, Tridib Poddar’s short film, Khoj.
on Mukta Arts participation at the festival, Subhash Ghai said, “Cannes
is an opportunity to showcase our cinema with our sensibility to the world
the NFDC screenings of the latest Indian films, which included Mrinal
Sen’s This, My Land. Leading the pack and a real winner of a film is
Bend It Like Beckham, which was received with a lot of enthusiasm at its
very first market screenings, with kudos handed out to director Gurinder
Chadha and producer Deepak Nayar
Other films premiered in the market were: Deepa Mehta’s new film, Bollywood/ Hollywood starring Rahul Khanna, Lisa Ray, Moushami Chatterjee and Dina Pathak. Mira Nair’s Hysterical Blindness has had several screenings as also the UK offering, Bollywood Queen being marketed by Arclight Films.
Information minister, Sushma Swaraj, was at Cannes to promote what
could be an extremely lucrative export industry.
She says Cannes is a very important festival for film-makers because it allowed other countries in Europe and Latin America to get a flavour of what is being produced in India.
Indian promotion at the festival goes far beyond just trying to sell
Indian films abroad, says Pawan Chopra, another member of the Indian
delegation to Cannes.
are looking at a huge new industry which caters not only to the domestic
market we also want to invite foreign film-makers to participate, even in
producing Indian films," said Mr Chopra.
can produce their own films if they like, they could produce Indian films
for foreign markets, they could just use our locations, they could use our
other skills which we offer at much lower rates than elsewhere in the
are reports that two co-production deals have already been signed for
Hollywood screenwriters to work on films with an Indian theme - so even
before the curtain goes up on this year's big picture, the mood in the
Indian pavilion at Cannes is buoyant.