With 50 days left until the start of the Cannes Film Festival, the month of May has turned into a different atmosphere for cinemagoers, especially with regard to the novel programs set for the event's 71st edition.
But the question is why Cannes is regarded as the foremost cinematic event each year. The answer does not lie in its history, but in its approach to holding a top and major program.
Generally speaking, all festivals revolve around the concept of art and the 78-year-old Cannes is of no exception and has always had a very artistic approach to cinema by selecting only 20 cinematic works out of thousands of submitted films. Only the films which are highly creative or have a new approach to daily routines are chosen for screening. Thus, each year beside independent filmmakers, new figures are also introduced in the festival.
Despite the fact that there are several film festivals in the world, looking at Cannes and its approach indicates that it is the most important cinematic festival in the world and it is not incorrect to say that it is called as 'the gateway to festivals'.
Subsequent positions go to Venice Film Festival and Berlin Film Festival followed by Montreal World Film Festival and Moscow International Film Festival.
At the same time, regarding its artistic quality away from commercial aspects or entertainment, Iran's cinema industry is considered as one of the most exclusive, creative and progressive cinemas. Over 1,000 awards received from various film festivals proves this claim. It is really a happy incident that Iranian cineastes managed to win so many awards ranging from Cannes' Palme d'Or to Berlinale's Golden Bear and Venice's Golden Lion from top world festivals.
In fact the first Iranian film to be screened in Cannes was 'Cyrus the Great' (1961), by Feri Farzaneh. Later, other filmmakers such as Dariush Mehrjoui, Bahman Farmanara, Majid Majidi, Abbas Kiarostami and Asghar Farhadi participated in the French festival winning a number of awards in different sections. Iran's flourishing film culture enjoyed a breakthrough with its very first Palme d'Or, awarded to Abbas Kiarostami's 'Taste of Cherry'.
Although Cannes has not announced the lineup for its 71st edition, it might also be a memorable event for Iran whose film 'Everybody Knows' by Farhadi will take part in the prestigious festival. Two years ago, 'The Salesman' by Farhadi premiered at Cannes Film Festival where it received critical acclaim and won Best Actor for Shahab Hosseini and Best Screenplay for Farhadi. It is expected that new Iranian films will participate in the upcoming French festival.
*Bahman Abdollahi is a film critic at Iran's Cultural and Press Institute.