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Cannes should not be merely a marketplace or show

By Ye Kuangzheng (People's Daily Overseas Edition)

10:50, May 30, 2012

(L to R) Wu Ershan, Feng Shaofeng, Chen Tingjia and Fei Xiang attend the Marche du Film opening night during the 65th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France, May 17, 2012. (Xinhua/Gao Jing)

Edited and translated by People's Daily Online

Recently, the 65th Cannes Film Festival was closed. Originally, Cannes was a serious film festival that was always regarded as the king of film festivals. However, Chinese mainland filmmakers seem to think differently.

The attention and evaluation from the Cannes Film Festival renders on Chinese-language films have always been fairly objective. In 1993, Chen Kaige's "Farewell to My Concubine" won the Golden Palm Award. After that, Wang Jiawei's "Happy Together" and Edward Yang's "A One and a Two" won the Best Director award; Hsiao-hsien Hou's "The Puppetmaster," Zhang Yimou's "To Live," Jiang Wen's "Devils on the Doorstep," and Wang Xiaoshuai's "ShanghaiDreams". Ge You and Zhang Manyu won the Best Actor and Best Actress respectively. Undeniably, the Cannes Film Festival has contributed much to discovering the value of Chinese films. However, in the last two years, not a single Chinese-language film had entered the main competition.

However, that does not affect the enthusiasm of Chinese mainland stars to chase Cannes. In the eyes of Chinese mainland filmmakers, Cannes is just a red carpet show, a resort for playing in a romantic environment, especially for some female stars who love to label themselves as international – from Gong Li and Zhang Ziyi in the early years, to Li Bingbing and Fan Bingbing recently. But this year, Zhang Ziyi was a little restrained and low-key. Although the film "Dangerous Liaisons" was highly regarded, it did not appear at the Festival. On the contrary, Fan Bingbing, always grasps every opportunity to shape her image as an international film star. First at the Cannes Airport, her vertical striped clothes like pajamas earned he a nickname. Then on the red carpet, with her exaggerated Tang Dynasty style hanging hair and "porcelain" evening dress, she was recognized as a Japanese star by the host. Fan Bingbing's show in Cannes for three consecutive years does not necessarily mean that Cannes recognizes her acting. Instead, she was invited by the sponsor L'Oreal, she is only a movable advertisement for the commodity.

For Chinese mainland filmmakers, Cannes is not only a show for advertisement, but also a marketplace for boisterous promotions. For instance, "Painted Skin II," "Chinese Zodiac," "Big Wudang," and "Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains" all went to Cannes only to make an appearance in the hopes of earning more popularity in the domestic market. Similarly, Yang Mi appeared at the festival only to promote "Painted Skin II" and "Wudang." Advertisements of Chinese films are posted everywhere at the Cannes Film Festival. It seems that Chinese stars are too embarrassed to carry out publicity in the domestic market without first going to Cannes. The money was spent at Cannes just to buy some ostentation. The movies fall far behind the standards of Cannes.

People say Cannes is more and more commercial. However, that might merely be Chinese filmmakers' opinions. Since clothes and jewelry on the show will attract wide attention from the media and the public, some luxury brands certainly do not want to miss the opportunity. Obviously, this is pitiful for Chinese filmmakers. Not abiding by the love and respect towards the film art, not striving for innovation in film language and enhancement of the art, but simply trying to value the business effects brought about by the stars; such an atmosphere will only deteriorate the artistic standards of Chinese films.

The Cannes Film Festival is regarded as the first of the three major film festivals in Europe just because it has early become a window to exhibit the vitality of films over the world. It is precisely this persistence that makes it enough to balance the Oscar awards criteria in the minds of many filmmakers. The core reason for Cannes to become a filmmaker's glory is that it represents a broader artistic vision. If Chinese filmmakers only regard it as a marketplace or show, it means disrespect toward this holy land as well as a desecration of the film art. Therefore, we must pay more respect to the film art and keep those movable human body advertisements as far away from Cannes as possible.

Read the Chinese version: 戛纳不只是卖场与秀场


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