Art Makes a Statement

By Gray, Tim | Variety, May 13, 2014 | Go to article overview

Art Makes a Statement


Gray, Tim, Variety


The Cannes Festival shines a global spotlight on filmmakers - and on graphic artists. The annual unveiling of the festival's poster has become an event that stirs up attention and debate like at no other film fest.

A hunt for the right image begins in September, with the search team including the Cannes programming chief (Thierry Fremaux, who joined the fest in 2001), and the festival president (Gilles Jacob this year; Pierre Lescure assuming that role July 1). They look for ideas from staff and outside agencies, and the fest's board makes the final choice.

Marie-Pierre Hauville, head of communications for the fest, said the image should represent the festival's elegance and mystery and, of course, be focused on film: "Ever since 2007, we have tried to combine a cinematic visual (symbolizing the essence of cinema and its eternal seduction - for example, a photo of an immediately recognizable world star or film) and a modern, strong graphic that represents a festival always in motion and in sync with its time."

The poster must show Cannes evolving slightly every year, which means the choice can't just be a portrait of a star each time. "It has to be something special, surprising, striking and convey the idea that cinema has a unique power," Hauville added.

This year's entry, created by Herve Chigioni and his graphic designer Gilles Frappier is un grand succès. It's of Marcello Mastroianni, taken from a frame of"8'/2," the third time the fest has drawn inspiration from Federico Fellini. "The idea for the poster was born from the same idea that I have of the festival itself: a cinema that's free and global, with passion for a director's vision, artistic excellence, glamour and golden sun," Chigioni told Variety. Said the artist of the image of Mastroianni: "His gaze from above his dark glasses invites us to follow him to share great moments of cinema. And the joy of experiencing together the most beautiful festival in the world." Chigioni dedicated the work to his father, who died during hist year's festival.

On these pages is a cross-section of a baker's dozen official posters over 67 years, chosen by a number of Variety staffers as their favorites. (And, for a look at some those staffers considered the worst, go to variety, com ©) - Tim Gray

1939

The first event was inspired by the Venice Festival: a Cannes poster was created, but the festival was called off. Europe had other priorities. The illustration was by Bordeauxborn painter Jean-Gabriel Domergue, who specialized in portraits.

1946

The first festival was held in the fall, a rival to the newish Venice Fest. At Cannes, the Grand Prize was shared by 11 films, including "Brief Encounter," "The Lost Weekend" and Roberto Rossellini's "Rome, Open City. …

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