Cannes Film Fest 1969: Year 22–Lindsay Anderson’s If… Wins Top Award

My Life as Festival Juror, 1987-Present

 

Representing the contingency of U.S. critics, I am serving on the jury of the 75th milestone edition of the Cannes Film Fest, May 17-28.

This would be my fifth service on the jury (Fipresci) of this prestigious venue; previously, I had also served on the jury of its 40th, 50th, 60th, and 70th anniversaries.

Cannes Film Fest 1969

The twenty-second Cannes Film Fest was held from May 8 to 23, 1969.

At this edition, a new significant sidebar was established, the Directors Fortnight.

The Grand Prix du Festival went to the comedy If….by Lindsay Anderson.

The festival opened with a mediocre Hollywood musical Sweet Charity, directed by Bob Fosse in his feature debut, starring Shirley MacLaine.

Jury Members

There were two Americans on the jury: Director Stanley Donen, then living in London, and producer Sam Spiegel.

For the first (and last time), there was a student on the grand jury.

Luchino Visconti (Italy) (president)
  • Chinghiz Aitmatov (Soviet Union)
  • Marie Bell (France)
  • Jaroslav Boček (Czechoslovakia)
  • Veljko Bulajić (Yugoslavia)
  • Stanley Donen (USA)
  • Jerzy Glucksman (Sweden) (student)
  • Robert Kanters (France) (critic)
  • Sam Spiegel (USA)

Feature film competition

  • Ådalen 31 by Bo Widerberg
  • The Appointment by Sidney Lumet (US)
  • Biće skoro propast sveta by Aleksandar Petrović
  • Calcutta by Louis Malle
  • Dillinger è morto by Marco Ferreri
  • Don’t Let the Angels Fall by George Kaczender
  • O Dragão da Maldade Contra o Santo Guerreiro (Antonio-das-mortes) by Glauber Rocha
  • Easy Rider by Dennis Hopper (US)
  • España otra vez by Jaime Camino
  • Faráruv konec by Evald Schorm
  • Flashback by Raffaele Andreassi
  • Le Grand amour by Pierre Étaix
  • If…. by Lindsay Anderson
  • Gli intoccabili by Giuliano Montaldo
  • Isadora by Karel Reisz
  • Ma nuit chez Maud by Éric Rohmer
  • Manden der tænkte ting by Jens Ravn
  • Matzor by Gilberto Tofano
  • Metti una sera a cena by Giuseppe Patroni Griffi
  • Michael Kohlhaas – Der Rebell by Volker Schlöndorff
  • Nihon no seishun by Masaki Kobayashi
  • Polowanie na muchy by Andrzej Wajda
  • The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Ronald Neame
  • Slaves by Herbert Biberman
  • Všichni dobří rodáci by Vojtěch Jasný
  • Z by Costa Gavras

Films Out of Competition

  • Andrei Rublev by Andrei Tarkovsky
  • Et L’Angleterre Sera Détruite by János Veiczi
  • L’amour de la vie by François Reichenbach
  • Zbehovia a pútnici by Juraj Jakubisko
  • Sweet Charity by Bob Fosse
  • That Cold Day in the Park by Robert Altman

 Awards

  • Grand Prix du Festival International du Film: If….by Lindsay Anderson
  • Grand Prize of the Jury: Ådalen 31 by Bo Widerberg
  • Jury Prize: Z by Costa Gavras (Unanimously)
  • Best Actor: Jean-Louis Trintignant for Z
  • Best Actress: Vanessa Redgrave for Isadora
  • Best Director: Tie
    • Glauber Rocha for O Dragão da Maldade Contra o Santo Guerreiro
    • Vojtěch Jasný for Všichni dobří rodáci
  • Technical Grand Prize – Special Mention:
    • Cîntecele Renasterii by Mirel Ilieşiu
    • Toccata by Herman van der Horst
    • Všichni dobří rodáci by Vojtěch Jasný
  • Short Film Palme d’Or: Cîntecele Renasterii by Mirel Ilieşiu
  • Jury Prize – Best Short Film: La Pince à ongles by Jean-Claude Carrière
  • Best First Work: Easy Rider by Dennis Hopper
  • FIPRESCI Prize: Andrei Rublev by Andrei Tarkovsky

Festival Impact

Z, Costa-Gavras’ fac-based political thriller, emerged as the most talked-about film due to its political message.

Z would become one of the few films to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar as well as the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, a category in which it won.

 

Fipresci also made strong impression with its choice of Andrei Rublev as Best Picture, positioning its Soviet filmmaker Trakovsky as one of the most interesting art directors in the next two decades.