Sunday, May 28, 2006

Cannes 2006 - Prize day

It's a strange feature of the Cannes Film Festival that as the speculation and excitement about the competition grows, so the journalists and delegates start to leave. In fact, in terms of the market, the Festival peaks over the first weekend.

However, while there is a slight sense of anti-climax around the Palais this morning, it will soon be gearing up for what is one of the most important events in the French calendar.

Apparently the Jury for the main competition has complete discretion over what awards are given. There are conventions (Best Film, Director, Actor, Actress, Screenplay etc), but they can choose to give more than one in a category, or none at all.

I saw Cronica De Una Fuga (written and directed by Israel Adrian Caetano) yesterday. A very powerful account of the experience of four Argentinians held hostage by the military junta in the late 1970s, it's thought by some to be a late contender for the Palme d'Or. There'll be some embarrassment if it does win - most non-French journalists had left before it screened.

While some critics (especially from the UK and America) have complained that it has not been a vintage year, the standard of films that I've seen has been very high.

Even if you don't have any interest in the market side of the Festival I would recommend coming simply to watch films. Full Members of the Guild can get accreditation and it's quite possible to get tickets for most screenings (apart from the evening premieres).

It is not traditionally a Festival for writers but more and more Guild members are coming each year and most seem to find it worthwhile. We'll carry more advice and information about coming to Cannes early next year, in time for the 2007 Festival.

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