Yet once again I set my journey to the Cannes Film Festival for the fifth time. It is one of the most prestigious and grand cine events that takes places in Southern France attracting several thousands of cine lovers and activists from all around the world. It is a festival that has played host to all the biggest names of cinema. And for its participants this festival has garnered the reputation of giving them a platform incomparable and an atmosphere that words cannot express. It is that of pleasure and passion, fulfillment and joy. A privilege for me at all times and a reminiscing one this time in particular since the heavy rain and stormy weather brought back many such beautiful memories that got buried in the past.
Although, visiting festivals like that of Cannes, Berlinale, Venice or Locarno is always a costly affair for cine activists like myself from Bangladesh but this year again I had the chance to meet a wide variety of people including: filmmakers, critics, journalists and scholars of cinema who visited the gala event that took place from the 16th to 27th of May, 2012. As much as costly it is I cannot undermine how worthy a journey or visit it is for people like me.
Despite the economic recession all over the world which has created a lot of tension and conflicting political environment, the Cannes never seems to compromise with its arrangements and surprises, with its image and glamour. Little did all the economic and political statuesque have an influence on this grand festival as it completed its 65th edition successfully.
This year, the festival awarded its Palm D’or to Micheal Haneke’s film Amour (Love). The German born Austrian director won this prestigious award for the 2nd time. It was in 2009 he won the Golden Palm for his film: The White Ribbon. In this film—Amour, the story evolves around an elderly couple’s love and affection towards each other. To add to the glory of the event Kiarostami, David Cronenberg and Ken Loach attended the festival with their latest ventures as well. The Grand Prix went to ‘Reality’—a film by an Italian filmmaker Matteo Garrone. Mexican born director Carlos Reygadas won the prize for Best Director for his film Post Tenebras Lux. The Jury Prize went to British filmmaker Ken Loach’s film Angels Share. The nine member jury led by Nanni Moretti, a famous Italian Filmmaker composed of celebrities like Diane Kruger and Emmanuell Devos.
Apart from the official jury, FIPRESCI—International Film Critics Association also presented three prizes. In the “Official Competition” category : In the Fog (V tumane) Sergei Loznitsa, in “Un Certain Regard” category : Beasts Of The Southern Wild by Benh Zeitlin and in the “Parallel Sections” category: Hold Back (Rengaine) by Rachid Djaïdani (presented in the Directors’ Fortnight). Jury members were Borislav Andjelic, Isabelle Danel, Rita di Santo, Paola Casella, Ronald Rovers, Laura Laufer, Pamela Bienzóbas, Beatrice Behn, and Rui Tendinha.
The renowned British film critic Derek Malcolm celebrated in Cannes, at the festival, his 80th birthday. He had been the senior film critic of the daily “The Guardian” and is now contributing weekly reviews and festival reports to the “Evening Standard” (London).
A phenomenon that I can relate from my experience that I gained althroughout these years of my visit in several film festivals around the globe is the fact that many good films remain unrecognized in big festivals like that of the Cannes. This year in Cannes, I had the opportunity to watch a number of such films that somehow do not come to the surface. Particularly, I should mention the name of Pirogue – a Senegalese film directed by Mousa Tourre. The plot evolves around the turbulent journey of a group of illegal African migrants from the continent to their dreamland—Europe. It caught my attention since it reminded me of the plight that my fellow Bangladeshi brothers and sisters have to undergo when they venture off to promising places like that of Europe for a better life and for the fulfillment of their dreams. Besides this, the cinematography and script of the film also amazed me needless to mention the acting crew was excellent too. One gets to learn and relate a lot from such realistic films. These are indeed relevant to real life reflections and incidents. From this film Pirogue, a reality that emerged to my perception was that of the struggle of survival, a hidden nature in every human being to have his own place in this cruel world and to race for his own need leaving others behind to their state of suffering.
Apart from all this, Festival de Cannes is a global hub for marketing, promotion and collection of funds for cinema. Unfortunately, Bangladeshi films still remain missing in this global cine circuit. The only memory that we can still cherish is that of the selection of Matir Moyna (Clay Bird) by Tareque Masud and Catherine Masud in 2002 in the “Un Certain Regard” section and also being awarded as the Best Film by FIPRESCI.