The greatest picture show on earth has opened here with the whisper of dark-eyed limousines carrying the likes of Robert de Niro, Catherine Deneuve, Woody Allen and Bernardo Bertolucci to pink champagne at suppressed addresses.
The greatest picture producer on Earth, India, is absent. No, tarry a moment, it is present — that’s if you count co-funding with a French company of a Sri Lankan film in Director’s Fortnight, not the main competition, as Indian presence on the coveted Cannes canvas.
The Festival de Cannes is arguably the summit of world cinema as art and business. The 64th edition this year will be no different. It is a burst of great, multi-crowned talent that only happens here, greater than the Oscars.
Consider this cornucopia of great names here: Lars von Trier (Denmark), Nanni Moretti Italy), Nuri Bilge Celan (Turkey), Naomi Kawase (Japan) and Joseph Cedar (Israel), among others, in the exalted competition. It’s 10 days that should never end.
Mr DP Reddy, joint secretary of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, who is here believes that Indian cinema has lost its way in the seductions of domestic cinema: song-and-dance, predictable stories, the star system. It is not targeting the auteur type film that Cannes honours, or the art house, even the best commercial cinema of Europe, North America and Latin America.
An immense improvement over past forays into Cannes is the present India Pavilion. It is managed this year by the Film Development Corporation of India and its head, Nina Lath. Room to sit and converse, a Remy Martin bar and on the walls the great hand-painted hoardings of Indian cinema. It will be a meeting place for all in the next ten days.