Cannes Film Festival 2024, France

Cannes Film Festival 2024, France

May 14 - May 25

Arguably the most famous and undoubtedly the most glamorous film festival in the world, the Cannes Film Festival, or Festival de Cannes as it is officially known, takes place in the coastal town in southern France in May.

What is the Cannes Film Festival?

What is the Cannes Film Festival?

The festival is an annual by-invitation-only event for the best films from around the world, held at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès in Cannes.

Until 2003, it was called the International Film Festival (Festival International du Film) before changing its name to the Cannes Festival (Festival de Cannes).

In addition to the Official Selection competition, where selected films are shown, a number of side events such as the International Critics' Week and Directors' Fortnight are held. This event has become the busiest market in the global film industry.

Grand Theatre Lumière. Photo: Eliott Chalier / FDC

History of the Cannes Film Festival

History of the Cannes Film Festival

Although the first festival took place in 1946, its origins go back about eight years earlier.

The 1938 Venice Biennale was the first international film festival, but under pressure from Hitler and Mussolini, the winners were anything but impartial, with Leni Riefenstahl's Nazi propaganda film "Olympia" being one of two films to receive the Mussolini Cup.

Returning from the festival by train, Philippe Erlanger conceived the idea of a truly independent film award.

Initially, the festival was planned to be held in Biarritz, but supporters of Cannes prevailed, and the first festival was scheduled for September 1, 1939 - the same date as the Venice Biennale. Unfortunately, events elsewhere in Europe forced a postponement and ultimately a cancellation of the festival. On September 1, 1939, Hitler invaded Poland.

In 2002, the first Palme d'Or for the canceled 1939 Cannes festival was awarded to Cecil B. DeMille's "Union Pacific" by a jury chaired by Jean d'Ormesson. Other films that were to be shown at the 1939 festival included "The Wizard of Oz" and "The Four Feathers." Indeed, there was one private screening - "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," which thus became the first film ever to compete at the Cannes Festival.

Red carpet. Photo: Christophe Bouillon / FDC

The first festival finally took place on September 20, 1946, featuring films from 19 countries, each film was awarded a Grand Prix.

Over the years, some of the world's greatest directors such as Roberto Rossellini, Billy Wilder, George Cukor, David Lean, and Jean Renoir have participated in the history of Cannes, along with actors from Grace Kelly to Gina Lollobrigida and from Cary Grant to Kirk Douglas. Even Pablo Picasso attended.

The first Palme d'Or was awarded to Delbert Mann's "Marty" in 1955.

The festival has always been accompanied by scandals. In 1959, the festival was disrupted when directors including Mallé, Truffaut, and Godard stormed the stage during the screening of Carlos Saura's "Peppermint Frappe."

Cannes winners such as "Pulp Fiction," "La Dolce Vita," and "Taxi Driver" were not well received at the time.

In 1997, to commemorate the festival's 50th anniversary, Ingmar Bergman was awarded the "Palme of Palms" by his fellow directors, although the Swedish director could not attend the ceremony.

Other major European film festivals include: the Venice International Film Festival, the Berlin International Film Festival, and the BFI London Film Festival.

Awards at the Cannes Film Festival

Awards at the Cannes Film Festival

The main awards at the festival are the Palme d'Or (Golden Palm), the Grand Prix of the Festival, and the Jury Prize.

Dates of the Cannes Film Festival 2024

May 14 - May 25, 2024.

Flights to Cannes

The Nice Airport is approximately 27 kilometers from downtown Cannes. Alternatively, you can take a direct train from Paris Gare de Lyon, which takes about five and a half hours.