Contemplations from Cannes 2017
Special Report / Richard Andry AFC
Contemplations from Cannes 2017
Special Report / Richard Andry AFC
We decided there was nobody better-placed to give us the inside, cinematographic track on the 70th Cannes Film Festival than Richard Andry AFC, president of the French Society of Cinematographers.
“Every year Cannes becomes the world’s largest multiplex cinema, with about 1,500 films screened in around 50 different venues around the city. It is said that the Cannes Film Festival comes second-only to the Olympic Games in terms of worldwide media coverage. I cannot say if that’s really true, but I can say there are always lot of people on La Croisette – movie stars, producers, directors, more than 4,000 journalists, hundreds of students, numerous technicians, thousands of fans and… plenty of cinematographers. In my opinion, after Camerimage, Cannes is the most important festival for cinematography – a fact that has not escaped our international sponsors such as ARRI, Leica, Kodak, Panavision and Angenieux, amongst others.
Associate corporate members of the AFC were in attendance this year – having participated professionally in many of the films being shown during the ten-day festival – hosting lunches, exhibitions and beach parties that brought the industry together.
Another great meeting point was the AFC Desk, inside the Village International Pantiero, hosted by the CST (Commission Supérieure Technique), which has the task of calibrating and controlling the many screenings. Almost every lunchtime, you could attend a presentation by companies such as Transpa Group, Eclair Labs, Dolby, Cinemecchanica and Panavision, prior to a cocktail party. At any time of day, you could get a drink, coffee, even champagne, and a calm seat under a parasol to chat with those who make the magic in our business.
It is also where our daily Cannes newsletter is edited live and sent to more than 8,500 subscribers. The AFC’s presence at the festival, our daily newsletter, and the interviews conducted, all benefit from the support of the CNC (Centre National du cinema) and 15 of our associate members: Angénieux, ARRI, Canon, DMG, Eclair, Kodak, LEE Filters, Leica, Mikros, Panavision, Red, RVZ, TSF, Vantage and Zeiss.
Having attended IMAGO’s Inspiration Symposium in Amsterdam as the moderator for Jeanne Lapoirie AFC’s special session, I unfortunately missed the first two days of Cannes. For her part, Jeanne was able to reach Cannes in readiness for the projection test of 120 Beats Per Minute, the acclaimed feature that she lit for Robin Campillo. That said, these tests are usually conducted at night, and she had to wait until 3am. But it was well worth the effort, as the film won the Grand Prix, the FIPRESCI Prize and the François Chalais Award.
Fourteen AFC films were screened in the festival’s various sections, including:
120 Beats Per Minute – dir. Robin Campillo, DP Jeanne Lapoirie AFC
The Beguiled – dir. Sofia Coppola, DP Philippe Le Sourd AFC
Okja – dir. Bong Joon Ho, DP Darius Khondji AFC ASC
Le Redoutable – dir. Michel Hazavanicius, DP Guillaume Schiffman AFC
Rodin – dir. Jacques Doillon, DP Christophe Beaucarne AFC SBC
After The War – dir. Annarita Zambrano, DP Laurent Brunet AFC
L’Atelier – dir. Laurent Cantet, DP Pierre Milon AFC
Barbara – dir. Mathieu Amalric, DP Christophe Beaucarne AFC SBC
La Hijas De Abril – dir. Michel Franco, DP Yves Cape AFC SBC
A Prayer Before Dawn – dir. Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire, DP David Ungaro AFC
Napalm – dir. Claude Lanzmann, DP Caroline Champetier AFC
Nos Années Folles – dir. André Téchiné, DP Julien Hirsch AFC
And let us not forget our non-AFC friends:
L’Amant Double – dir François Ozon, DP Manu Dacosse SBC
Les Fantômes d’Ismaël – dir. Arnaud Desplechin, DP Irina Lubtchansky
The Meyerowitz Stories – dir. Noah Baumbach, DP Robbie Ryan BSC ISC
Nelyubov – dir. Andreï Zvyagintsev, DP Mikhail Krichman RGC
Wonderstruck – dir. Todd Haynes, DP Ed Lachman ASC
You Were Never Really Here – dir. Lynne Ramsay, DP Tom Townend
A highlight, according to those who have experienced it in the past, is the opportunity the festival gives to an AFC cinematographer to be a member of the Caméra d’Or jury, which awards a debut film. The organisers chose Patrick Blossier AFC this year and the prize was presented to Léonor Serraille for Montparnasse Bienvenue, shot by cinematographer Emilie Noblet, who is a very talented young woman indeed.
Even though our new Minister of Culture missed the opening ceremony, that did not prevent the festival from hitting the ground running. As far as the Netflix controversy goes – its two films in competition, Okja and The Meyerowitz Stories, provoked an immediate backlash from French theatre owners, although this was quickly swept under the famous red carpet.
But streaming services are not the real disruptors. The disruption seemed to come with the very impressive six-and-a-half minute Virtual Reality experience from Oscar-winning director Alejandro González Iñárritu, and his triple Oscar-winning cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki AMC ASC, that placed the viewer in the middle of a border crossing from Mexico to the United States, inside the world of illegal migrants and the often tragic outcomes. This VR experience, titled Carne y Arena, took place in an airport hangar 20-minutes away from the Festival, where visitors were asked to remove their shoes before entering one at a time into a huge space covered in sand for an extraordinary visceral, visual experience.
The chief dilemma for cinema owners about the future is that, if VR takes-off as a storytelling medium, as proved by Carne y Arena, the idea of people gathering in cinemas to watch two-hour slices of edited film could appear archaic in the next ten years.
“I think it could be less than ten years when kids look at a movie on a traditional screen and say, ‘You used to watch things on that?’”, Chivo said at the Sunday press conference. There is no doubt that filmmakers are casting around to match content with the medium.
The other highlight this year was the Pierre Angénieux ExcelLens tribute to Christopher Doyle HKSC, hosted by Pierre Zeni and opened by Thierry Fremaux, director of the Cannes Film Festival. Chris was awarded, during a memorable ceremony – in the company of Juliette Binoche, Jenny Suen, Olivier Assayas and Frédéric Auburtin – an Optimo 15-40mm zoom, his favourite lens, engraved with his name.
“Most awards are some kind of symbol: a horse for example or a little golden man. This award means so much more than just an honour for my work. This award has been created by craftsmen and women with precision and care. It's the bridge between their craft and my endeavour for art that I will be using every day on every film to come with pride and respect,” he said during his acceptance speech.
Although the show must go on, I will never forget the moment at this 70th edition of Cannes Festival when, at 3pm on the 23rd of May the red carpet fell silent to pay homage to the victims of the Manchester Arena attack.
I finish with the words of Barry Ackroyd BSC in his homage to the victims, “These events put into sharp focus what our priorities are and although cinema is merely a cultural tool, it’s a great tool to help make sense of this world.”
In further Cannes news, ARRI managing directors Dr. Jörg Pohlman and Franz Kraus announced the strengthening of its business in France, with a new boutique subsidiary, complete with showroom in the centre of Paris, dedicated to Camera Systems and Lighting, while being able to offer a special promotional platform for the Alexa 65 available from ARRI Rental, plus training in the panoply of ARRI products.
The new subsidiary, ARRI CT (Cine Technik) France, will continue to be supervised by Natasza Chroscicki (MD) and supported by Natacha Vlatkovic (business development manager) who for many years, have overseen marketing and business development for the ARRI brand in France as Imageworks.
Cannes Film Festival 2017 winners:
Palme d’Or: The Square (dir. Ruben Östlund)
70th Anniversary Prize: Nicole Kidman
Grand Prix: 120 Beats per Minute (dir. Robin Campillo)
Best director: Sofia Coppola, The Beguiled
Best actor: Joaquin Phoenix, You Were Never Really Here (dir. Lynne Ramsay)
Best actress: Diane Kruger, In the Fade (dir. Fatih Akin)
Jury prize: Loveless (dir. Andrei Zvyagintsev)
Best screenplay: The Killing Of A Sacred Deer (dir. Yorgos Lanthimos) and You Were Never Really Here (dir. Lynne Ramsay)
Caméra d’Or: Jeune Femme (Montparnasse-Bienvenüe) (dir. Léonor Serraille)
Best short film: A Gentle Night (dir. Qiu Yang)