At the Cannes Film Festival, a case for movies in a TikTok world – Reuters News in France and abroad

CANNES, France — When Jeff Nichols first attended the Cannes Film Festival, he was a 21-year-old student interning at the event’s American Pavilion. His days were mostly spent waiting tables, but every once in a while Nichols would get his hands on a premiere ticket, put on a tuxedo his mother had bought him, and sit high up on the balcony of the Grand Theater Lumiere. Every time he landed there, he felt on top of whatever he wanted to do in life.

Since then, Nichols has returned to the festival with two films he directed: “Take Shelter,” starring Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain, and Matthew McConaughey’s drama “Mud.” This year, he will be one of the jurors who will decide the winner of the Palme d’Or. At a jury press conference on Tuesday, Nichols, now 43, said his invitation was a complete honor.

“I can guarantee you that I’m going to watch each of these movies with the same excitement I had when I was 21,” Nichols said.

The host, Didier Allouch, adds curtly: “You will have a better place.

Credit…Eric Gaillard/Reuters

In its 75th year, an invitation to the Cannes Film Festival remains highly coveted, even though the film industry has changed irrevocably in the two decades since Nichols first attended. Since French theaters have been lobbying the festival to exclude streaming films from competition, Cannes sometimes feels like a throwback: a place where the big screen is so revered you wouldn’t know the outside world was consuming films. of art on much smaller screens, if at all.

The most significant concession Cannes has made to change viewer habits is the abundance of billboards and banners along the Croisette, the city’s main boulevard, touting official partner short video app TikTok. of this year’s festival. Does this union suggest that the festival is hedging its film bets, or is it just a savvy way for Cannes to reach a user base of over a billion young users?

It’s perhaps a reminder that Cannes has more to sell than art films, even when some of those entries – like Palme d’Or winner “Parasite” or last year’s hit “La worst person in the world” – continue to strike a cultural chord. Cannes also sells glamor in the form of red carpet images that are broadcast around the world. And the perfect backdrop of the Croisette, where that red carpet is set against azure summer skies and an even richer blue sea, also provides the perfect launch pad for studio blockbusters: “ Top Gun: Maverick” and the glitzy “Elvis” by Baz Luhrmann. will make its Cannes debut this year alongside independent films like Kelly Reichardt’s “Showing Up,” starring Michelle Williams as an artist tending to an injured pigeon.

After the 74th edition of the festival was constrained by the emergence of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, Cannes this year is partying back to its fullest. The number of journalists here has almost tripled since last summer, the evenings are once lively and the opening night film, “Final Cut”, was directed by a big name from Cannes – French director Michel Hazanavicius, whose film ‘The Artist’ debuted here in 2011 before winning the Best Picture Oscar.

Credit…Lise Ritain

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At the Cannes Film Festival, a case for movies in a TikTok world – Reuters News in France and abroad