Posted by Larry Gleeson
The Cannes Film Festival, until 2003 called the International Film Festival, is an annual film festival held in Cannes, France, which previews new films of all genres, including documentaries, from all around the world and is widely considered the most important festival in the world in terms of impact. As such, a five-part series on the Cannes Film Festival is underway with the publishing of Part I.
Since 1946, Cannes has hosted the 12-day International Film Festival, where a jury of international talent decides on the awards for the best films of the year. An official competition takes place in the heart of the famous Palais des Festivals and attracts the attention of the world during the opening ceremony and the presentation of the Palme d’Or.
The second first Festival in 1946
The International Film Festival was born in the heady atmosphere of the end of World War II, marking the beginning of a major episode in world cinema.
Hope in the first years after the war
Back in July of 1945, in a France devastated by the war, Philippe Erlanger – who was at the origin of the first, aborted initiative – put the idea forward again to the new director of French cinematography.
But the French State and the municipality of Cannes could no longer afford such an expense. The necessary funds were raised through a public subscription, making this first festival possible.
In September 1946, in a festive atmosphere and despite a series of technical problems, this first festival kicked off a long golden era that made Cannes and its festival the place to be for all filmmaking countries.
Discoveries and revelations in contemporary cinema
The first Cannes Film Festival introduced the entire world to Italian cinema and its neorealism.
The rise of a new generation of filmmakers was not to the liking of the people at the Ministry who were in charge of making the selections, but films by these young auteurs quickly gained ground.
The Festival contributed to the discovery of cinemas that were relatively unknown in Europe, although there were doubts as to the jury’s objectivity, given certain diplomatic agreements.
Stay tuned for the Cannes Film Festival and the Cold War!