Cannes: The French Perspective

Nothing could stop GI Joe combatant (and French actor and screenwriter) Said Taghmaoui from attending the Cannes Festival. We knew that—and we don’t speak French—which is why we requested a page from his diary:


 My first experience in Cannes was in 1995, in support  of my film La Haine, which won several awards and launched my career. Now, almost 15 years and 40 movies later I am still in awe of the scope and influence of the festival. This year I am producing a television show with famed producer Tarak Ben Amar for Tunisian-based satellite channel Nessma TV. On top of following me to all the events, the show includes interviews with many of the big players here— Penelope Cruz, Marion Cotillard, Luc Besson, and Harvey Weinstein, among them.

Even were there a drop in attendance due to the economic crisis, you wouldn’t notice it. I mean, Martin Scorcese showed up to introduce the series of classic films! Diversity and the quality of international film is another distinctionm and the jury’s openness to visceral, brutal and symbolic imagery—even if the crowd boos it. And while the crowd hisses at screenings and parties the industry chiefs are looking to fill out there slates for the year. This is where films are bought and sold, where an independent film about poverty in  a Parisian suburb can get distribution and shake the world.