Vintage map

Browse all

5 curious things you might not know about the Cannes Film Festival

La Croisette is set to be once again the centre of world cinema

5 curious things you might not know about the Cannes Film Festival La Croisette is set to be once again the centre of world cinema

While the Palais des Festivals screens the most upcoming titles the world's cinema has to offer, movie stars and celebrities impress in front of crowds of photographers, journalists and onlookers on the red carpet of the Cannes Film Festival. If the Schiaparelli worn by Bella Hadid in 2021 introduced her right into the ranks of the festival's most daring guests, a very young Brigitte Bardot in the distant 1953 edition had herself photographed in a bikini on the beaches of Cannes, when that skimpy garment was still considered taboo. Yet the Côte d'Azur festival carries with it the aura of mystery typical of historical, exclusive and glamorous events in the Old Continent. We uncovered some of them.


A reaction against fascism

The Cannes Film Festival was born in 1939 following the wishes of a number of French, British and American movie industry figures who wanted to distance themselves from the Venice Festival, which was no longer hiding its fascist tendencies. After a brief stop caused by the Second World War, the French festival resumed programming in 1946, where Alfred Hitchcock's timeless Notorious, among others, was presented.


A feline guest

If, after Brigitte Bardot's floral bikini, viewers all over the world thought they had reached the height of the scandal, a few years later an Italian made them change their minds. In 1963, during the 16th edition of the festival, Claudia Cardinale had herself immortalized on the Croisette in the company of a sensual cheetah on a leash. The marketing move was aimed at promoting The Leopard, which that year won the Palme d'Or for Luchino Visconti.


The dress code is not something optional

The people behind one of the world's most important film festivals are not as flexible as those at the Met Gala, where guests play a game of who strays furthest from the theme. The rules say that those who want to walk the Cannes red carpet must wear a dinner jacket with a bow tie (for him, even if he is a photographer) or a long dress with high heels (for her). Some participants in past years were not allowed into the halls precisely because they broke the required dress code, while some stars tried to boycott the rules by walking in flat shoes like Uma Thurman in 2011 or barefoot such as Kristen Stewart in 2018. Among the most talked-about dresses were a transgressive Jean-Paul Gaultier worn by Madonna in 1991 and the vertiginous slit shown by Bella Hadid in 2016. 


The red carpet is sustainable

For its 75th edition, the Cannes Film Festival is set to be even more sustainable. In 2021, the kermesse coordinators have started to measure carbon dioxide emissions and reduce waste production. In fact, the reduction of waste starts with the reuse of the red carpet: between 2019 and 2021, the rate of carpet replacement was halved, saving 1400 kilograms of material, or 59% of the total volume of carpet usually used. 


Exclusive but not elitarian

The legend that access to the Cannes Film Festival is only possible by invitation or accreditation granted to the press or the hottest personalities in show-biz is false. It is possible to get an accreditation to the festival even if you demonstrate your irrepressible passion for cinema. Every year, cinephiles from all over Europe try to impress the committee that sifts through the accreditation applications with testimonials and motivational letters. The only prerequisite: leave early. If you want to attend screenings at the Cannes Film Festival, you will have to apply for accreditation a few months in advance of the kermesse.

This year's most anticipated guests include Johnny Depp, who returns to the Croisette in The King's Favourite, a film dedicated to Jeanne Du Barry, and will meet his eldest daughter Lily Rose Depp at the Cannes Film Festival to present the controversial television series The Idol. The star list continues with Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro joining Martin Scorsese's new film Killers of the Flower Moon; the unprecedented trio of Pedro Almodóvar, Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal bringing the Saint Laurent-produced western Strange Way of Life to the festival; and Natalie Portman expected at Cannes with Julianne Moore, her co-star in Todd Haynes' romantic film May/December. It will also feature much of the cast of Asteroid City, Wes Anderson's new film, including Jason SchwartzmanScarlett JohanssonTom Hanks, Jeffrey Wright, Tilda SwintonBryan CranstonEdward NortonAdrien BrodyLiev SchreiberMaya HawkeSteve CarellMargot RobbieJeff Goldblum, Willem DafoeMatt Dillon and many more. There are also two veterans such as Harrison Ford, star of the film Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, in which he is joined by Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Antonio Banderas, and Quentin Tarantino, who will be a guest at the 2023 Fortnightly Cinéastes.