In 2007 the Cannes Film Festival was celebrating it’s 60th edition (it wasn’t technically the 60th anniversary since the festival was suspended for several years during World War II). To honor the event, they commissioned 34 short films, each 3 minutes long, by 36 of the world’s greatest living directors. The project was called Chacun Son Cinema (To Each His Own Cinema).
2007’s Cannes Film Festival also was a personal event for me as I was a producer of the competition entry TEHILIM. It was our first time in Competition and the mix of directors we were competing against included many of my heroes: Sokurov, Tarantino, Breillat, Tarr, the Coens, Van Sant, Kusturica and Fincher (among others). We were definitely the upstarts in the big league but it was a heady time for us and we were on cloud nine.
When the schedule was released we were very pleased to find ourselves with a screening on Sunday afternoon. Great positioning, but that night was the official 60th celebration and the screening of the complete Chacun Son Cinema. The day was a blur and the premiere was a great success with a long ovation but it quickly became apparent, as we prepared for our press conference, that we were going to face some stiff competition for the press’ attention.
(You can view our press conference here. I definitely recommend taking a look as Raphael Nadjari, our director, is an extraordinary filmmaker, incredibly smart and wonderfully articulate.)
Most of the Cannes press conferences occur in the official press room on the fourth floor of the Palais des Festivals and on a typical day during the festival members of the international press spend their day going between the morning press screenings and the press conferences upstairs. Unfortunately for us, this Sunday was a bit different. You see, Cannes had decided that they would provide a press conference for Chacun Son Cinema and given the expected interest level in that event, they had moved the conference to a new theater, specially constructed, outside the palais. Members of the press were faced with the decision of whether to come to our press conference or to try to fight their way to a good seat in the room where they would get, all on one stage: Takeshi Kitano, Theo Angelopoulos, Nanni Moretti, hou Hsiao-hsien, the Dardenne brothers, the Coen brothers, Chang Yimou, Amos Gitai, Jane Campion, Atom Egoyan, Kaurismäki, Assayas, Lars von Trier, Raoul Ruiz, Lelouch, Van Sant, Polanski, Cinimino, Cronenberg, Wong Kar Wai, Kiarostami, Salles, Wenders, Loach and Lynch.
It wasn’t a fair fight.
All that being said, the shorts are wonderful each like a little cinematic amuse-bouche. They adhere to the classic rule of short films that a short should be one idea, explored fully. Recently the Coen’s contribution to Chacun Son Cinema was placed on YouTube. It’s a lovely piece and I definitely recommend taking a look. Here it is: