It has been one month since the launch of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. The festival composed of nearly two weeks of long nights, longer days and hundreds of films presented on the French Riviera that showed off the best the world had to offer the film industry.
Starting off with one of Phillip Seymore Hoffman’s last films, God’s Pocket, and ending with the red carpet premiere of Olivier Dahan’s, Grace of Monaco, the festival opened with great fanfare, even though Dahan’s film received almost universal disdain and was even banned in Monaco by the royal family.
Surprisingly enough, the films displayed in the competition, and in the market to be sold, were nothing truly exceptional. There were only a handful of films outside of the main competition that were recommended through word of mouth and general buzz. Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut, Lost River, was the most controversial film and one of the most recommended, due to its divisive reception from everyone at the festival.
When the awards finally arrived, everything fell exactly as everyone knew it would. The nearly three-and-half hour long Turkish film, Winter’s Sleep, took home the Palm D’or award with almost universal acclaim. The Hollywood-bashing David Cronenberg film, Map to the Stars, gave Julianne Moore the Best Actress prize.
Tommy Lee Jones brought his film, The Homesman, and received mixed reviews, which were well deserved. Starring France’s own Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night, earned a nearly 15 minute standing ovation from those of us lucky enough to attend the premiere.
The 20th anniversary for the premiere of Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction was held during the festival. Tarantino, Uma Thurman and John Travolta presented the film to hundreds of fans on the beaches of the festival grounds. When you have hundreds of die-hard fans watching the same film with the director himself in the audience, it makes for an excellent evening and a definite highlight.
The general consensus of critics coming out of the festival was universal: It was a dull year. Perhaps this is true, but the main thing to remember is that this is not simply a festival to show off films. This is a place were films are sold and deals are made. Walking through the market area of the festival is like walking through a battlefield with no weapon to defend yourself.
Most of the exclusive hotels were filled with producers, actors and executives all meeting contacts and friends to get films made. This is not a vacation for anyone. This is a business after all. However, the glitz and glamour were most definitely in attendance and those of us who were lucky enough to be there definitely got swept up in it. In the end, it’s the Cannes Film Festival after all.