The Importance of Cannes Film Festival!

“Cannes “became extremely important for critical and commercial interests and for European attempts to sell films on the basis of their artistic quality”.

“Along with other festivals such as Venice and Berlin, Cannes offers an opportunity to determine a particular country’s image of its cinema and generally foster the notion that European cinema is “art” cinema”.

This an argument from Jill Forbes and Sarah Street in “European Cinema: An Introduction” , describing the importance of Cannes Festival.

In other words, the Cannes festival has become an important showcase for European films.

Let’s begin on how importan for cinema is “Le Festival International du film de Cannes”, “The Cannes Film Festival”!





The Cannes Film Festival is an annual film festival held in Cannes, France.

The Cannes festival is a celebration of many films from around the world.

The Cannes Film Festival helds annually in May at the “Palais des Festivals et des Congrès”.

It was founded in 1946 and it’s probably (along with the Venice and Berlin film Festivals) the most prestigious film festival,  in the world.

The Cannes Film festival, previews many new films, including documentaries from around the world.

In 1955, the Golden Palm (Le Palm d’Or) was created, replacing the Grand Prix du Festival which had been given until that year.

In 1957, Dolores del Rio was the first female member of the jury as a Sélection officielle – Member.

In 1962, the International Critic’s Week was born, created by the French Union of Film Critics as the first parallel section of the Cannes Film Festival.                                                      Its goal was to showcase first and second works by directors from all over the world, not succumbing to commercial tendencies.

In 1965, an hommage was paid to  Jean Cocteau after his death, and he was named Honorary President for life.

In 1966, Olivia de Havilland was named the first female president of the festival.

In 1978, Gilles Jacob assumed the President position, introducing the “Caméra d’Or” award and the “Un Certain Regard” section.

In 1995, Gilles Jacob created the last section of the Official Selection: la Cinéfondation.      Its aim was to support the creation of works of cinema in the world and to contribute to the entry of the new scenario writers in the circle of the celebrities.

Twenty international films compete for major award: the “Palme d’Or”.

“Un Certain Regard” is a section of the Cannes Film festival’s official selection.

It is run at the salle Debussy, parallel to the competition for the Palme d’Or.

This section was introduced in 1978 by Gilles Jacob. Each year, it presents a score of films with all kind of visions and styles; “original and different” works which seek international recognition.

In 1998, the “Uncertain Regard” award was introduced to the section to recognize young talent and to encourage innovative and daring works by presenting one of the films with a grant to aid its distribution in France.
Three Mexican films won the “Uncertain Regard” award,  The Violín in 1996, After Lucía in 2012 and “The Golden Cage” this year.

Finally here is a list of some famous, historical Cannes Film Festival winners:

Palme d’Or film winners:


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Roberto Rossellini’s masterpiece “Roma, città aperta”


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The Mexican Film “Maria Candelaria”:  It was the first Mexican film to be screened at the “Cannes International Film Festival” and it won the “Grand Prix”  becoming the first Latin American country to do so.    The film stars two great legends of Mexican Cinema: Dolores del Rio and Pedro Armendariz  and it was directed by Emilio Fernandez.


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“The Lost Weekend”  shared the 1945  Grand Prix du Festival International du Film at the first Cannes Film Festival and Ray Milland was awarded Best Actor of the year.
Both Billy Wilder and Ray Milland also won the Academy Awards for this excellent film.


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Federico Fellini’s masterpiece “La Dolce Vita”, starring Marcello Mastroianni, Anita Ekberg and Anouk Aimée.



Luchino Visconti’s classic “Il Gattopardo” , based on Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s novel of the same name.   Starrin Burt Lancaster as Don Fabrizio Corbera, Prince of Salina,  Alain Delon as Tancredi Falconeri and Claudia Cardinale as Angelica.



French Musical film “Les Parapluies de Cherbourg” starring Catherine Deneuve.


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“Die Biechtrommel”, the film adaptation of the novel of the same name by Günter Grass.       It was directed and co-written by Volker Schlöndorff.                                                                             The music of the film is by famous French composer Maurice Jarre.


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“All That Jazz” directed by Bob Fosse and starring Roy Scheider in which he also got nominated for Best Actor Oscar.



Farewell My Concubine is masterpiece of Chinese cinema and it remains to date the only Chinese-language film to win the Cannes Palme d’Or.                                                                            The film stars the international Chinese star Gong Li.



Last year’s winner “Amour” directed by Michael Haneke and starring Emmanuelle Riva – famous from “Hiroshima mon Amour”, directed by Alain Resnais – Jean-Louis Trintignant – Best Actor winner of the Cannes film festival 1969 and in 1994 he starred in Krzysztof Kieślowski’s last film, Three Colors Red –  and Isabelle Huppert – Two times winner of Best Actress in Cannes Festival, for “Violette Nozière” in 1978 and “La Pianiste” in 2001 -.

Michael Haneke is a two time winner at the Cannes Film Festival.

Now this is the list of the winners of Best Director  (Prix de la mise en scène)  in Cannes Film Festival:

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Luis Buñuel for “Los Olvidados” in 1951


Ingmar Bergman for “Brink of Life” in 1958.


François Truffaut for “Les quatre cents coups” in 1959.


Andrei Tarkovsky for “Nostalghia” in 1983.

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Mathieu Kassovitz for “La Haine” in 1995.



Pedro Almodovar for “All About my Mother” in 1999.



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Michael Haneke, two time winner of Best Director in Cannes Festival, in 2009 and 2012


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Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu for “Babel” in 2006.

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Another great Mexican Film Director winner of Cannes film Festival 2012, Carlos Reygadas for the film “Post Tenebras Lux”.


And I am very happy to say that this year’s best Director winner is again Mexican!                     Amat Escalante for “Heli”.

Best Actors Winners in Cannes:

Ray Milland for “The Lost Weekend”.


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Marlon Brando for “Viva Zapata”.


Jean-Louis Trintignant for “Z” in 1969.
Marcello Mastroianni, Two Time Winner of Best Actor in Cannes.
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Gérard Depardieu for “Cyrano de Bergerac in 1990.

Christoph Waltz for “Inglorious bastards” in 2009.


Here we have the Best Actresses winners in Cannes Film Festival!


Bette Davis in “All About Eve” in 1950



Giulietta Masina for “Nights in Cabiria” in 1957.


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Bibbi Anderson, Ingrid Thulin, Eva Dahlbeck and Barbro Hiort af Ornäs won the Best Actress Award in Cannes in 1958.


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Simone Signoret, winner in Cannes for “Room at the Top” in 1959.  Plus she became the first French person to win an Academy Award, for the same film.


Jeanne Moreau, winner for “Moderato Cantabile” in 1960.
Sophie Loren won the Best Actress Award in Cannes for “Two Women” in 1961.
Isabelle Huppert, two time winner in Cannes.
Anouk Aimée, another legendary winner at Cannes!
Isabelle Adjani, she won  a double Cannes Film Festival Best Actress Award  for roles in two films in 1981.
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Virna Lisi, winner of Cannes Best Actress Award for her  extraordinary performance as Catherine de’ Medici in “Le Reine Margot” in 1994.
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In 2006, Penelope Cruz, Carmen Maura, Lola Dueñas, Chus Lampreave, Blanca Portillo and Yohana Cobo won for Pedro Almodovar’s “Volver”.
Juliette Binoche, winner in 2010 for Best Actress in Cannes.

A famous quote about Cannes Film Festival:

“I was asked to go to Cannes to present “Amores Perros”.   And little did I know that this film would be huge. I saw it for the first time in Cannes, and it was the first time  I’d seen myself on such a big screen.  And it had a huge impact on me – it was the strangest feeling”.
Gael Garcia Bernal.



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