Questions Now That Cannes Is over It's Time to Reassess What the Festival Means to the International Culture Debate

By David Sterritt, writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, May 23, 1996 | Go to article overview

Questions Now That Cannes Is over It's Time to Reassess What the Festival Means to the International Culture Debate


David Sterritt, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


The screens are dark, the auditoriums are empty, the red carpets at the Palais des Festivals are rolled up and stowed away. Another edition of the Cannes International Film Festival has come and gone, marking 49 years of art, commerce, and star-gazing in one of Europe's most glamorous seaside resorts.

Preparations have already begun for next year's event, which will celebrate a half-century of achievement. It's an excellent time to ask a couple of key questions: Have the functions and purposes of Cannes changed over the past five decades? Is the movie world better off because of it, or are its activities geared mainly toward insiders thinking more of their own careers than the public's cultural needs?

There are no easy answers. Turning to the second question first, it's impossible to separate the overall health of the cultural scene from the accomplishments of individuals who may define success in ways quite different from one another, or even from the bulk of moviegoers who make up their potential audience.

Director David Cronenberg was trounced by many viewers here for the sex-and-violence excesses of his new "Crash." Prior to the Cannes jury giving the film a closing-night prize for audacity and originality, Cronenberg told me he had no regrets about bringing it here because its artistic intentions had at least been acknowledged, if not applauded.

"Crash" novelist J.G. Ballard agreed, telling me he'd rather have his work debated than ignored. Robert Altman similarly called Cannes a good launching pad for his "Kansas City," less a standard melodrama than a moody exploration of American acquisitiveness against a background of traditional jazz.

"I could be directing 'Aliens 4' for a lot more money," Cronenberg noted, acknowledging that his brand of unsettling cinema will always be more seriously received in places like Cannes than on commercial theater screens. Some feel this demonstrates the irrelevance of Cannes to the interests of everyday movie fans. Yet if Cronenberg's next film proves a popular hit - still being planned, it's about an automobile designer and the racing-car circuit - momentum gained from this year's controversy will have helped get the project off the drawing board and on the screen.

Looking at the services provided by Cannes as cinema's most glamorous showcase, it's clear the festival's usefulness has undergone many changes over the decades. First conceived as a way of reintroducing European film to the world market after World War II, the event has served in recent years as a sort of motion-picture Mixmaster, blending European art movies and American blockbusters into programs called eclectic and challenging by some, dazed and confused by others.

Cannes took a decided turn toward the artistic end of the spectrum this year, in part because many desirable Hollywood productions simply weren't finished in time for the programming deadline. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Questions Now That Cannes Is over It's Time to Reassess What the Festival Means to the International Culture Debate
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.