This annual event on the blue Mediterranean is more than a carnival of cinema. It is a pathfinder. It blesses innovation. It anointed the Nouvelle Vague and more recently the move to digital filming. Last year, its opening film was 3D animation. Suddenly, 3D productions have abundantly arrived.
There are some lessons for India from this festival. We produce more films than any other country but keep the fact under wraps in Cannes, hot focus of world cinema for two weeks. This year was no different.
There was an India Pavilion, mobbed when it opened with hopes of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Mallika Sherawat showing up, but deserted by a lack of planning on every other day. The media and beachfront five-stars hosted India relevant events. What was missing was a coherent, inclusive and authoritative statement about current strategy of Indian cinema. At Cannes, such positions matter and yield results.
A thoughtful decision needs to be taken, after proper consultation, at policy formulating levels in Delhi. This is really no place for such deliberation.
But it is a place to note that Shekhar Kapoor was invited to the august Jury of the main Competition. Udaan (Vikramaditya Motwane) was accepted in Un Certain Regard, the first Indian film in Cannes’ Official Selection in seven years.
A moving gesture: onstage at awards ceremony was an empty place among the Jury chairs. It bore the name of a missing juror, Jafar Panahi, the great Iranian director who was on his ninth day of fast, protesting action by his government.