The Cannes Film Festival, held every May in Cannes on France’s Mediterranean coast, is among the most prestigious film festivals in the world. It is held in the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, which was built specifically to house the festival. Due to its large selection of offerings and international renown, the Cannes Film Festival is attended by leading figures in the film industry from Europe, America, and elsewhere. Many Hollywood celebrities can be found at Cannes, often promoting their newest “prestige” or “art house” projects.
Many films are screened during this event, which typically lasts for twelve days. Twenty films from across the globe compete for the highest prize, the coveted Palme d’Or (“Golden Palm”). Other awards include the Grand Prix and the Prix du Jury. Many other films also play at the festival, either competing for one of the other awards offered or simply being shown in a noncompetitive environment. In addition to the debuts of new movies, the festival also presents classics, often ones that have been restored.
The Cannes Film Festival was first conceived just before the start of World War II, as a competitor to the Venice Film Festival. Venice’s festival was at the time the most prestigious event of its kind but had begun to suffer from censorship at the hands of Mussolini’s Fascist regime. The outbreak of the war meant that plans for the festival were postponed until peace was declared. Then, in 1946, the tradition finally began. Since then, a great deal of the festival’s elements have evolved. only over time, for instance, did the Palme d’Or prize come about, and only in 1995 was the Grand Prix du Jury renamed simply the Grand Prix. Nonetheless, the festival continues to be one of the most important events in the world of film.