Cannes: when the red carpet becomes political

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As demonstrated by the recent denunciation of the murder of Mauricio Lezama in Cannes, the festivals are also a place for political demonstration

La banda sonora no oficial de Pulp Fiction

On May 16, during the red carpet of Sorry We Missed You by British director Ken Loach, directors Ciro Guerra and Franco Lolli, accompanied by the actors of Litigante, a Colombian film that opened the Critics' Week, denounced the murder by filmmaker Mauricio Lezama in Arauca.

Leer en español: Cannes: cuando la alfombra roja se vuelve política

With posters that had written "We demand justice, not exterminated," "Peace" or "Mauricio Lezama, filmmaker killed in Colombia", they walked in the gala. As stated by the actor Vladimir Durán, one of the protesters, for Arcadia, "We decided that the red carpet was the place to make this complaint. I understand that nine years ago a filmmaker was not murdered in Latin America, so when a filmmaker was killed, and one that is not an isolated case, but is part of a new extermination, we reached an agreement with those who were there to make an action that puts the focus on this horrifying situation".

The murder of Mauricio Lezama was committed on May 9 in Arauquita, Colombia, while he was casting for a short film that he intended to do in the region on the activist Mayo Villareal. According to the Arauca governor, the perpetrators were a dissident group of the FARC who thought that "it was a person who could be an informant", as mentioned on a video on Twitter.

Like the accusation made by Colombian artists, several filmmakers and actors have made the Cannes festival a political setting. Beyond the brightness of the flashes, Cannes has witnessed the political conflicts of recent years and, given its visibility worldwide, the complaints have caused discussion both in France and in the countries of origin of those who protest. In LatinAmerican Post we tell you about other times when the French red carpet became political.

You may be interested: Colombia: Mauricio Lezama is killed on the eve of a filming

Repudiation against the coup d'etat to Dilma Rousseff

In 2016, RT recalls, before the presentation of Aquarius, the director of the film, Kleber Mendonça Fihlo, together with the actress Sonia Braga led a delegation of artists with posters denouncing the eventual trial to which Dilma Rousseff was to be subjected, former president of Brazil and representative of the left. The posters said, in English and French, phrases such as "A coup d'etat was held in Brazil" or "Brazil is not a democracy".

Later, when they were already inside the Lumière theater, they took out more banners in their posts with more direct criticisms to the then government of Michel Temer. Some of them said "Fuera" or "Stop the coup in Brazil."

May 68: an interruption of the festival

One of the flagship dates of recent French history is May 1968. In that month, the largest demonstrations and student occupations that had taken place in France took place, which later led to a general strike when the unions came together. As Cannes takes place at that time of year, it was inevitable that it would be affected.

Europe 1 remembers how the festival had to close its doors after several artists criticized its lack of involvement with what was happening in the country. Initially, Nouvelle Vague figures such as François Truffaut and Jean Luc Godard demanded that the directors stop the festival.

However, the then delegate of the festival, Robert Fabre le Bre, refused to do so. The situation worsened with the resignation of several juries and the rejection of Carlos Saura on May 18 when he did not allow me to film his film Peppermint Frappé. Finally, after the commotion that caused this last event, the festival closed its doors on May 19 and did not give any prize as a way to join the spirit of the marches in Paris.

The withdrawal of Nuit et Brouillard at the request of the German government

In 1956, when each participating country chose films that wanted to participate in the festival competition, the French government chose the film Nuit et Brouillard by Alain Resnais. The film is about deportation and the Nazi death camps, so, taking into account that the recent World War II, caused a media stir.

The biggest critic of this decision was the government of East Germany, which demanded that the government of Guy Mollet withdraw the competition film appealing to the need for reconciliation of both countries. Even though the government eventually accepted the request and the film withdrew from the competition, as remembered Europe 1, the screenings of the documentary were not canceled and the viewers could see it in the theaters.


LatinAmerican Post | Juan Gabriel Bocanegra

Translated from "Cannes: cuando la alfombra roja se vuelve política"