Cannes Film Festival: here’s to the independents

April 23, 2009 at 5:28 pm (film) (, , , , , , )

Cannes Film Festival official poster

Cannes Film Festival official poster

Today the Cannes Film Festival has announced it’s competitors. With a line up including Jane Campion, Tarantino and Almodóvar, it’s worth getting excited about.

With so many big names vying for the Palme d’Or it will be a tough decision for the judges. Almodóvar’s Broken Embraces, a psychological thriller featuring his favourite leading lady Penelope Cruz, is up against Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds (starring Brad Pitt who heads a troupe of Jewish soldiers bent on wiping out Nazis). Thrown into the mix is Jane Campion’s Bright Star, a drama exploring the romance between John Keats and Fanny Brawne. She is the only woman to ever win the Palme d’Or three years ago with The Piano.

The festival is showing Heath Ledger’s final performance in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, although the film is not entering the competition.

Hotly-tipped British film Looking for Eric exlpores the unlikely friendship between a downbeat football fanatic postman and Eric Cantona. Will film maker Ken Loach  impress the judges as his Wind That Shakes the Barley did three years ago?

Still, even the fabulous Cannes is not insensitive to the current economic situation. Since 2009 is has already been dubbed “Crunch Cannes” since Vanity Fair cancelled it’s glitzy bash at the Hotel du Cap, the city’s hotels still have empty rooms and guests may have to settle for sparkling rosé rather than champagne. The festival’s official coiffeur will be accompanied by a modest team of 15 hairdressers, down from the 20 of last year.

There’s something about all this thriftiness that seems appropiate. Independent film has always been about economic uncertainty with unstable funding. While Cannes is an important celebration of independent film, perhaps this year’s scaled down affair will act as a reminder – when it comes to the independents there’s just never enough money.

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