Cannes Film Fest History: My First Year

Cannes_1984_posterCannes Diaries: The 2014 Cannes Fest, which opens May 14,  is my 30th consecutive festival.

It’s a time to reflect about my adventures (and misadventures), memories (selective, of course), and personal experiences of a festival that’s only a few years older than I am.

It’s also the only film event that I have attended without interruption for three decades. (Sundance Film Fest, which was founded by Robert Redford a year later, comes second, with 18-year attendance).

The first time I went to Cannes as a film critic was in 1984, shortly after getting my Ph.D. at Columbia University. I was there for the festival’s 37th edition, which took place May 11-23, 1984.

Since then, I have come a long way, baby.  Or have I?  I began my Cannes adventures (which are still going on) by arriving in town without accommodations and with a tuxedo that I rented the day before.  I ended up staying at a one-star hotel (near the noisy train station).  Since then I have moved up the ranks to renting apartments and staying mostly in 3-star hotels.

To be honest, for 12 years, 1995-2007, I had the privilege of staying at one of the Croisette’s best hotels, the 5-star Hotel Martinez, where my longtime companion, Rob Remley, was placed by his company at the time, New Line Cinema.

The 1984 festival opened with Fort Saganne, directed by Alain Corneau and closed with The Bounty, directed by Roger Donaldson.  This was the third version of The Mutiny on the Bounty, starring the young and handsome (and uncontroversial) Mel Gibson.

The big winner was Wim Wenders, Paris, Texas, starring Harry Dean Stanton, Dean Stockwell, and the fabulous Nastasja Kinski.

It was the first time that I met in person Helen Mirren, who won Best Actress for Cal, before she became a famous international Oscar-winner star.

It was the first time I saw a film by Lars von Trier, who was still modest, decidedly not an enfant terrible or provocateur yet.

It was the first time that I made a prediction that Leon Carax will become a cult director, after seeing his lovely film, Boy Meets Girl (which would become the first panel of a trilogy)

It was the first time I met in person Dirk Bogarde, who was president of the jury, but was too embarrassed to say how much I admired his films.  The closest I got to a personal talk was by saying that I plan to write a biography of the openly gay director George Cukor, hoping that he would reveal something about his own gay life.  Years later I interviewed him for my book, George Cukor, Master of Elegance, which came out by William Morrow in 1993.  A true gentleman, Bogarde claimed that he remembered our brief encounter in 1984, but I knew that he did not.  Why should he recall a twentysomething film critic?

Main Competition (in alphabetical order)

Another Country by Marek Kanievska

Bayan ko: Kapit sa patalim by Lino Brocka

The Bounty by Roger Donaldson

Cal by Pat O’Connor

Dges game utenebia by Lana Gogoberidze

Enrico IV by Marco Bellocchio

Forbrydelsens element by Lars von Trier

Ghare Baire by Satyajit Ray

La pirat  by Jacques Doillon

Los santos inocentes by Mario Camus

Napló gyermekeimnek by Márta Mészáros

Paris, Texas by Wim Wenders

Quilombo by Carlos Diegues

Success Is the Best Revenge by Jerzy Skolimowski

Taxidi stin Kythera by Theodoros Angelopoulos

Un dimanche à la campagne by Bertrand Tavernier

Under the Volcano by John Huston

Vigil by Vincent Ward

Where the Green Ants Dream by Werner Herzog


Un Certain Regard

Abel Gance et son Napoléon by Nelly Kaplan

Cóndores no entierran todos los días by Francisco Norden

De grens by Leon de Winter

De weg naar Bresson by Leo De Boer, Jurriën Rood

El Norte by Gregory Nava

Feroz by Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón

Khandhar by Mrinal Sen

Le jour S… by Jean Pierre Lefebvre

Le tartuffe by Gérard Depardieu

Man of Flowers by Paul Cox

Mária-nap by Judit Elek

Yeoin janhoksa moulleya moulleya by Doo-yong Lee

Un poeta nel Cinema: Andreij Tarkovskij by Donatella Baglivo

Where Is Parsifal? by Henri Helman


Films out of competition

Beat Street by Stan Lathan

Broadway Danny Rose by Woody Allen

Choose Me by Alan Rudolph

Efter repetitionen by Ingmar Bergman

Fort Saganne by Alain Corneau

Once Upon a Time in America by Sergio Leone

Short Film Competition

Ajtó by Mária Horváth

Bottom’s Dream by John Canemaker

Le Cheval de fer by Gérald Frydman and Pierre Levie

Orpheus and Eurydice by Lesley Keen

Points by Dan Collins

Ett Ru by Mats Olof Olsson

Het Scheppen van een ko by Paul Driessen

Le Spectacle by Gilles Chevallier

Tchouma by David Takaichvili

Tip Top by Paul Driessen


Jury Members

Dirk Bogarde (U.K.) (president)

Franco Cristaldi (Italy)

Michel Deville (France)

Stanley Donen (USA)

Istvan Dosai (Hungary) (Cinématographie official)

Arne Hestenes (Norway) (journalist)

Isabelle Huppert (France)

Ennio Morricone (Italy)

Jorge Semprún (Spain)

Vadim Yusov (Soviet Union)


Camera d’Or Jury

Mehmet Basutcu (Turkey)

José Luis Guarner (Spain)

Bernard Jubard (France)

Michel Jullien (France)

Samuel Lachize (France) (critic)

Serge Leroy (France)

Fee Vaillant (West Germany)



Palme d’Or: Paris, Texas by Wim Wenders

Grand Prix: Napló gyermekeimnek by Márta Mészáros

Actor: Francisco Rabal and Alfredo Landa for Los santos inocentes (Ex aequo)

Actress: Helen Mirren for Cal

Director: Bertrand Tavernier for Un dimanche à la campagne

Screenplay: Theodoros Angelopoulos, Tonino Guerra and Thanassis Valtinos for Taxidi stin Kythera

Artistic Contribution: Peter Biziou (cinematographer) for Another Country

Technical Grand Prize: Forbrydelsens element by Lars von Trier


Short Film Palme d’Or:

Le Cheval de fer by Gérald Frydman and Pierre Levie

Tchouma by David Takaichvili


Caméra d’Or: Stranger Than Paradise by Jim Jarmusch

Perspectives du Cinéma Award: Liberté, la nuit by Philippe Garrel


Other Prizes


Memórias do Cárcere by Nelson Pereira dos Santos

Paris, Texas by Wim Wenders

Taxidi stin Kythera by Theodoros Angelopoulos

Prize of the Ecumenical Jury: Paris, Texas by Wim Wenders

Prize of the Ecumenical Jury – Special Mention: Los santos inocentesby Mario Camus


Award of the Youth:

Foreign Film: Epílogo by Gonzalo Suárez

French Film: Boy Meets Girl by Leos Carax