Cannes International Film Festival

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The logo of the film festival
Note from 1939 with the decision of the French government to no longer take part in the Venice International Film Festival , but instead to host its own festival in Biarritz, Cannes or Nice
The red carpet
Roman Polański with Adrien Brody (left) in Cannes, 2002

The Cannes International Film Festival ( French le Festival de Cannes ) is one of the world's most important film festivals . They have been held annually in May on the Côte d'Azur since 1946 . The main venue in Cannes is the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès .

In 2019, the 72nd edition took place from May 14th to 25th. The 2020 film festival was originally supposed to be held from May 12th to 23rd. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic , the festival has been postponed and will take place from May 11-22 , 2021.


The film festival was conceived on the initiative of the French Minister of Education and Culture, Jean Zay . Originally planned for 1939, the first Cannes International Film Festival took place from September 20 to October 5, 1946 due to the Second World War. In 1948 and 1950 the festival was canceled due to financial difficulties.

In 1955 the best film was awarded the Golden Palm for the first time . The trophy designed by the French jeweler Lucienne Lazon replaced the "Grand Prix" that had been awarded until then.

As a result of the May riots in Paris , the festival was canceled on May 19, 1968. Louis Malle had resigned as a member of the jury the night before . Malle, François Truffaut , Claude Berri , Jean-Gabriel Albicocco , Claude Lelouch , Roman Polański and Jean-Luc Godard entered the Great Hall of the Palais des Festivals and asked for the performance to be interrupted as a show of solidarity with the striking workers and students. The action was also seen as a response to the recently dismissed Henri Langlois as director of the Cinémathèque française .

On the occasion of the 50th Cannes Film Festival , Ingmar Bergman was awarded the “Palm of Palms” in the presence of numerous previous winners.

Today Cannes is considered one of the most important and prestigious film festivals in the world.

Competitions and Prizes

The film prizes at the International Film Festival are awarded by an international jury, which is newly composed every year and consists mainly of filmmakers. The main prize is the Golden Palm ( Palme d'Or ) , with the best film of the competition is excellent. Other prizes awarded by the jury for the film as a whole are (in descending order) the Grand Prize of the Jury ( Grand prix du jury ) , the Prize of the Jury ( Prix ​​du Jury ) and the Special Prize of the Jury (which is not necessarily awarded every year) . There are also prizes in the individual categories of female actors, male actors, direction and script.

The trophies are made and donated by the Swiss jeweler Chopard in Geneva . Chopard also lends the jewelry for the celebrities.

Other juries also award competition films here. The most important are the FIPRESCI International Film Critics Prize ( Prix ​​de la FIPRESCI ) and the Ecumenical Jury Prize ( Prix ​​du Jury oecuménique ) .

In addition to the main competition, the festival also has the short film competition with the Golden Palm for short films ( Palme d'Or du court métrage ) , the Cinéfondation competition , in which works by film students are awarded, and the Un Certain Regard series , in which since 1998 the Prix ​​Un Certain Regard is awarded.

Finally, as part of the international film festival, both the association of directors Société des Réalisateurs de Films with their La Quinzaine des Réalisateurs and the critics organization Syndicat français de la critique de cinéma with their La Semaine Internationale de la Critique hold their own independent parallel event a number of prizes will also be awarded. The Golden Camera ( Caméra d'Or ) awarded since 1978 for a first work serves as a bracket, as the prize winner is selected by a jury made up of representatives of the three event organizers from the competition programs of all three parallel events.

The most important awards at a glance:

category Original designation awarded since
Golden palm Palme d'or 1955
Grand Jury Prize Grand Prix 1959
Best Actress Prix ​​d'interprétation féminine 1946
Best Actor Prix ​​d'interprétation masculine 1946
Best director Prix ​​de la mise en scene 1946
Best script Prix ​​du scenario 1969
Jury Prize Prix ​​du Jury 1952
Golden Palm - Best Short Film Palme d'or du court métrage 1953
Golden Camera - Best Debut Film Prix ​​de la Caméra d'or 1978
Honor palm Palme d'honneur 2011


Great artists are also honored in Cannes. For example, in 1985 the master director François Truffaut , who was excluded as a critic in Cannes in 1958 because his reports were perceived as too critical. A year later he received the directing award for his first work You kissed and they beat him . After the May riots in Paris , Truffaut and colleagues boycotted the film festival, which therefore could not take place in 1968. A year after Truffaut's death, Jeanne Moreau gathered his stars ( Jean-Pierre Léaud , Claude Jade , Catherine Deneuve , Gérard Depardieu , Fanny Ardant ) on stage in Cannes and presented a homage to François Truffaut , which Claude de Givray filmed as Vivement Truffaut .

Another honorary award is the Prix ​​Orange , which has been awarded to an actor by the press every year since 1960. Prize winners included a. Annie Girardot (1961), Fernandel (1964), Philippe Noiret (1972), Claude Jade (1975) and Jean Marais (1998). The Commission Supérieure Technique de l'Image et du Son (CST) has awarded the Prix ​​Vulcain de l'artiste technicien for outstanding artistic and technical achievements since 1951 .

In 2018, under President Cate Blanchett , the jury awarded a Palme d'Or spéciale to the French director Jean-Luc Godard for the first time in the history of the festival , whose film Le Livre d'Image ran in the competition but did not win a regular prize. The newly created prize was intended to recognize both the film and Godard's achievements for the cinema.

Grappling with Netflix

The invitation of the Netflix in-house productions The Meyerowitz Stories and Okja 2017 sparked controversial discussions. Basically, this conformed to the statutes, but it was displeasing that Netflix does not adhere to the usual order of film evaluation , but instead publishes it directly via video-on-demand instead of in the cinema . As a result, the statutes were changed with effect from 2018. Since then, every film has to prove a theatrical release in France in order to be nominated. Netflix rejects a theatrical release in France because it is accompanied by a three-year legal blocking period for SVOD (video-on-demand via subscription) publications.


  • Christian Junge: Hollywood in Cannes: A Love-Hate Story, 1939–2008. Schüren, Marburg 2009, ISBN 978-3-89472-521-1
  • Enno Patalas : Cannes. An order in decline. In: Filmkritik , No. 7, 1966, ISSN  0015-1572 , pp. 367–368 (Patalas shows how three festivals actually coexisted even then: the official one, the film fair as a meeting of dealers and producers, and the festival as a meeting place for Cinephiles)
  • Kenneth Turan: Sundance to Sarajevo. Film festivals and the world they made . University of California Press, Berkeley 2002, ISBN 0-585-46625-4 , chap. Cannes , S. 13-30 .

Web links

Commons : Cannes International Film Festival  - Album of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Cannes Film Festival will not take place in May. In: . Österreichischer Rundfunk , March 19, 2020, accessed on March 19, 2020 .
  2. a b History of the Festival, accessed on April 5, 2013 (English)
  3. A brief history of the Palme d'or, accessed on April 5, 2013 (English)
  4. Film director Godard scoops special award in Cannes, accessed on May 22, 2015 (English)
  5. Hannah Pilarczyk: Film Festival: Cannes 2017 - what cinema fans need to know . In: Spiegel Online . May 17, 2017 ( [accessed April 13, 2018]).
  6. ^ Council of Europe: IRIS Plus - Legal Review of the European Audiovisual Observatory. Retrieved April 13, 2018 .
  7. Hannah Pilarczyk: Cannes Program 2018: Politics under palm trees . In: Spiegel Online . April 12, 2018 ( [accessed April 13, 2018]).