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Thursday, Oct 17, 2019

Controversy at Cannes: When the festival made news for all the wrong reasons

From banning heels on the red carpet to rampant thefts — here’s looking at some controversies that marred the prestigious festival in the recent past.

hollywood Updated: May 16, 2017 14:29 IST
Nikita Saxena
Nikita Saxena
Hindustan Times
This official poster  of the festival has garnered flak, with many saying this vintage picture of model Claudia Cardinale is airbrushed.
This official poster of the festival has garnered flak, with many saying this vintage picture of model Claudia Cardinale is airbrushed.(REUTERS/HANDOUT/Bronx agence (Paris)/Archivio Cameraphoto Epoche/Getty Images)

The Cannes Film Festival is known for courting controversy, and this year’s edition, that starts on May 17, has already been hit by a few of them. For starters, the festival has been accused of retouching an iconic image of Italian model Claudia Cardinale from 1959. Many believe that her waist and thighs have been slimmed down, thanks to airbrushing, and her feet appear to have shrunk too. While Cardinale, now 79, has brushed off the accusations, Twitterati doesn’t agree. “This is so depressing. Even Claudia Cardinale isn’t ‘ok’? No wonder girls airbrush themselves invisible on Instagram,” wrote user Jodie Chapman.


Day 236. Congrats! Okja goes the Cannes! #cannes2017 #옥자 #bongjoonho #Okja

A post shared by 백은하 UNA BECK (@unabeck) on

In another controversy, an official press release by the festival, read: “A rumor has recently spread about a possible exclusion of the Official Selection of Noah Baumbach and Bong Joon Ho whose films have been largely financed by Netflix. The Festival de Cannes does reiterate that, as announced on April 13th, these two films will be presented in Official Selection and in Competition.” it stated, adding: “Consequently, and after consulting its Members of the Board, the Festival de Cannes has decided to adapt its rules to this unseen situation until now: any film that wishes to compete in Competition at Cannes will have to commit itself to being distributed in French movie theatres. This new measure will apply from the 2018 edition of the Festival.” What does all this mean? If the movie does not release on the big screen, from next year, it is out of contention for Palme d’Or — the biggest prize up for grabs at the festival.

The 2013 edition of the festival was overshadowed by the dark clouds of thefts. Jewellery worth $1m was stolen from the hotel room of an employee of Swiss jewellers Chopard. Reportedly, thieves ripped open the safe where it was kept on an early Friday morning. Along with that, a diamond necklace worth $2m disappeared during a
star-studded party.


Director Lars von Trier drew flak at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.
Director Lars von Trier drew flak at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. ( Andreas Rentz/Getty Images )

Danish director, Lars von Trier, told the press at a conference in 2011 that he was a Nazi, that he understood Hitler, and that his next movie could be The Final Solution. Not only did the festival officials condemn his statements, they also banned him from the event.


Numerous celebrities were stopped from entering the festival for not wearing high heels at the 2015 edition. One was reportedly turned away for wearing boots and tights, while another was refused entry for sporting platform sandals. British actor Emily Blunt deemed the whole incident “disappointing”. Actor Julia Roberts attended the event barefoot in the year 2016 in protest.


The red carpet at the 2015 edition saw too much action — quite literally. David Griner, a British journalist, captured on his iPhone, a couple indulging in sexual intercourse at night, under the glowing Cannes signboard. Needless to say, the news went viral and the couple, though unidentified, gained celebrity status overnight.

The opening of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival brought royal disapproval (quite literally) for actor Nicole Kidman. The Monaco royal family dubbed the actor’s film, Grace of Monaco, a farce with no relation to reality, and boycotted the Cannes red carpet.

First Published: May 16, 2017 14:24 IST

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