Cannes Film Festival

The 2013 Cannes Film Festival begins today and one of the most interesting visual aspects of it are the excellent official posters used to promote the event.

Athough many are abstract in design many feature, as you would expect from the French, images of actresses and other women (much more so than they have  images of men).

The first festival was held in 1939 and set up by the French, British and Americans as a deliberate challenge to the then fascist Venice Festival.  Louis Lumière, the inventor of cinema was all set to preside over the first festival but then World War 2 broke out in September and the event was cancelled.  The first festival was, therefore, in 1946 but in 1948 and 1950 the organisers didn't have enough money to run an event.  

In 1951 the festival was moved from September to May, when it has been ever since. In 1953 a teenage, pre-blonde starlet called Brigitte Bardot made her first appearance.  1955 was the only year that the same film won the Palme d'Or and the Best Film Oscar, the now largely forgotten Marty, starring Ernest Borgnine.

Bardot causes a stir in 1953

Under-dressed starlets frolicking on the beach below La Croisette have always been a feature of Cannes.

In 1962 the first "critics Week" took place and in 1968 film directors including François Truffaut, Claude Berri,  Claude Lelouch, Roman Polanski and Jean-Luc Godard blocked the screen and caused the festival to be abandoned in support of rioting students in Paris.

The festival had its 25th Anniversary in 1971 and in 1975 three more categories of films were introduced into the competition for works which looked at other arts, dealt with contemporary issues and examined the cinema.

In the year that Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind would dominate the world box office the festival poster had a presciently space age feel to it.

In 1987 the festival, now the biggest in the world, reached its fortieth anniversary.  This was also the last year that a French film has won the Palme d'Or. It was now a huge affair compared with the couple of hundred people who had attended in 1946.

In 1993 the first woman director, Jane Campion, won the Palme d'Or, for The Piano.

In 2002 Cannes ran a special tribute to Bollywood, acknowledging the world's biggest film industry.

Last year saw the festival's 65th birthday.

Next we will try to find some more starlets on the beach at Cannes!
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