Well known for it’s overpriced everything and more bling (read glamor) than a Jay-Z concert, has the Cannes Marche Du Film had it’s day? Like most venerable institutions ranging from the Roman Empire to the hopelessly outdated British Monarchy, Cannes was once a showcase for cinematic ecstasy. It was a place for the exploration of global cinematic culture. Timeless films which resonated globally and had staying power. Now it appears, with few exceptions, it’s losing it’s lustre, reports Sharon Waxman from “The Wrap“. This year’s festival is generally being rated as “good but not great.”
While some anaemic deal making has occurred and the resurgence of Arabian Film Funds, I’m still bemused and dismayed that both the Cannes and Sundance institutions are resting on their laurels. Indian philosophy cautions against living in past glories.
Like much of Europe, Cannes is an increasingly crusty, sclerotic affair with little new and exciting material to titillate cinema audiences. It’s a place of tradition and immovable, conservative deal makers, too comfortable in their collective ruts. They are unwilling or unable to shake themselves out of it. Trail blazers and fresh energetic visionaries have been locked out in favor of the dull and familiar.
Robin Hood, with it’s muted action and stylistic indistinguishability from “Gladiator” failed to excite Cannes-adians (pronounced KAHN-adians). Sometimes I feel bad films make more of an impression on me than mediocre films. At least they get an emotional response.
Once Cannes was the playground of mavericks. Now, it’s more of a bridge club for veteran directors such as Brit Mike Leigh with his latest, appropriately titled offering “Another Year”. If it’s anything like the amorphous, overly-improvised pudding called “Happy Go Lucky”, made from the public purse, get me a pillow. Whatever happened to the raw emotion of “Secrets and Lies” which still gives me tingles as I was write?
All stale institutions have an expiry date in terms of prestige. Maybe Cannes is close it’s own creative demise as it desperately tries to wash over it’s boredom with champagne and meetings on yachts. Cannes must face it’s diminishing importance unless it modernizes and re-invents itself for the 21st century. Nepotistic back scratching and tummy tickling during chardonnay and cheese won’t cut it anymore.