As the countdown to the seventy-first Cannes Festival begins, the official poster was released today. This year’s poster (see full image at the end of this article) was taken from 1965’s “Pierrot Le Fou.” Everyone at the Festival next month will see it, here, there, and everywhere. It’ll adorn the many sides of the Palais, the streets nearby, lampposts, ice-cream parlors and souvenir shops. A lively visual leitmotiv, it spells a certain carefree je ne sais quoi. When I approached festival president Pierre Lescure yesterday via email about the decision-making process, he told me that, “it was a group decision, the team and the visual designers were also really enthusiastic about it.”
Two years ago, the poster, in a nod, I thought, as much to architecture as to cinema, featured a scene from Godard’s “Le Mepris” (“Contempt”) that shows Michel Piccoli ascending the stairs of the legendary Casa Malaparte.
The image this year is Godard all over again, with his “Pierrot,” a film that stars France’s favorite son, Jean-Paul Belmondo, locking lips with actress Anna Karina in a euphoric embrace. The picture was repurposed with splashes of bright blue and gold. The careful coordination of typography, hue and spacing between the letters gives the poster its momentum. About the choice of “Pierrot le Fou” Lescure told me, “it’s a film that stands out, it’s exuberant, there’s freedom, a couple in love.”
Is the Cannes Festival suffering from a wee bit of nostalgia, though? Ever since the poster for the 2010 Cannes Festival that gave us a decidedly modern Juliette Binoche tagging a “Cannes” in the air, the years after this gave us conventional but inspired movie imagery: Faye Dunaway, as seen by Jeffrey Schatzberg, Marilyn, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward (a poster that stood out), Mastroianni, Ingrid Bergman and the later aforementioned ones.
Last year, we were treated to a photo of Claudia Cardinale twirling her dress on a Roman rooftop in 1959. French cinema, nouvelle vague, got it. How about some American films, next year, or something from the Dogma movement? (or is Cannes forever “fâché” with Von Trier?) Remember, also, the wonderful One Jump image for the 2007 festival. Magnum photographer Alex Majoli got Penelope Cruz, Almodovar, Samuel Jackson, and other Cannes habitués to jump in front of his camera and photoshopped all of them together into a striking airborne melee with exhilarating results.
About this year’s poster, a very enthusiastic Lescure noted, “all that was needed was an incandescent Cannes-blue skies background. Yea!”
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Screen Comment will be at the Cannes Festival during 8-19 May to bring you all the coverage.