The Cannes Festival (French: Festival de Cannes), named until 2002 as the International Film Festival (Festival international du film) and known in English as the Cannes 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.
The Cannes Film Festival is one of the essential events for the film industry, attended by prestigious directors and actors as well as up-and-coming film professionals who have yet to make their mark. Probably the most famous film festival in the world, Cannes was first held after the Second World War, in 1946. Memorable moments from the Festival archives include Roberto Benigni throwing his arms around the members of the jury in a rather exuberant display of joy after winning the Golden Palm for Life is Beautiful in 1998, and Björk’s rather unusual choice of gown after her memorable performance in Dancer in the Dark, 2000.
The impact of Cannes Film Festival
The festival has become an important showcase for European films. Jill Forbes and Sarah Street argue in European Cinema: An Introduction (ISBN 0333752104), that Cannes “became…extremely important for critical and commercial interests and for European attempts to sell films on the basis of their artistic quality”. Forbes and Street also point out that, along with other festivals such as the Venice Film Festival and Berlin International Film Festival, 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.
Additionally, given massive media exposure, the non-public festival is attended by many movie stars and is a popular venue for film producers to launch their new films and attempt to sell their works to the distributors who come from all over the globe.