Cannes film festival: The things we don’t talk about

As celebrities clad in Chanel twirled on the red carpet at the 72nd Cannes Film Festival, less than a block away several homeless locals could be seen panhandling for a meal, reports Yeeseon Chae.

Cannes film festival: The things we don't talk about
The two sides of Cannes. Photo: AFP

The festival's glitz and glamour throws in to sharp relief the poverty and inequality present in the city and the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region. 

The festival that has become synonymous with the city brings in about €30 million in just 12 days. But as much revenue as the festival brings in, there is also displacement that occurs.


The bright lights of the Cannes film festival hide a multitude of problems. Photo: AFP

It’s not hard to imagine how far removed the festival-goers and rich tourists are from the rest of everyday Cannes.

The considerable economic inequality is present in the housing alone.

The city of Cannes simultaneously has some of the world’s most expensive real estate and also a higher poverty rate than the national average.

The average price per square metre of property in Cannes is €23,133, according to the 2012 Wealth Report from Knight Frank and Citi Bank, while the average yearly salary in Cannes is €28,202.

To address theese multiple disparities, the City Council of Cannes and seven local businesses and individual donors have created the Cannes Foundation.

The fund’s objectives are to “create a true and long lasting solidarity between local and foreign residents of the city who care about Cannes,” and “allow inhabitants and businesses to efficiently provide concrete support to the projects of their choice.” 

The Fund also helps donors to identify the beneficiaries and precisely allocate the charitable contributions.

If the foundation means to amend the current state of the city, there is a lot of work to be done.

A total of 18.4 percent of families in Cannes fall under the poverty rate, higher than the national average of 13.9 per cent. The Gini index – which measures wealth inequality – for Cannes is 40 per cent, compared to the national average of 30 percent.

The increasing national sentiment for improved economic conditions against income disparity was echoed by the 'yellow vest' protesters, around 150 of whom gathered close to the Palais des Festivals.

Their presence was banned in the city centre by the new representative of the Alpes-Maritime state this past weekend.

Such inequalities, however, are far from rare.

Though the tourism sector of Cannes may hide the flaws from the red carpet, filmmakers like veteran British director Ken Loach have been lauded for bringing inequality and issues of modern poverty to the front.

Sorry We Missed You, Loach’s new film centered around a working-class family in Newcastle, opened this past week at the festival to glowing reviews.

“I always hope that my films will change attitudes or lead to a reflection on the world, but the rich will probably not see Sorry We Missed You,” Loach said in an interview with 20 Minutes.

He also added that he “admired the courage” of the 'yellow vest' protesters.

It is striking that the festival favorite is a film discussing the increasing global income gap and its costs to everyday people when you consider the social and economic context of the festival itself.

But we must continue to talk about the displacement and real-life consequences that occur when incredibly large-scale events, like the film festival, bring a tremendous amount of opportunity and simultaneously disenfranchisement to the same place.

Yeeseon Chae helps to run the Lost in Frenchlation cinema club in Paris. The group's next screening is on Saturday, May 25th. Find out more here.


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French films with English subtitles to watch in November

As days get shorter and temperatures drop, November is a great month to enjoy a warm and comforting moment at the cinema. Here’s a round up of the French movies with English subtitles to see in Paris this month.

Cinema in France
Photo: Loic Venance/AFP

The cinema group Lost in Frenchlation runs regular screenings of French films in the capital, with English subtitles to help non-native speakers follow the action. The club kicks off every screening with drinks at the cinema’s bar one hour before the movie, so it’s also a fun way to meet people if you’re new to Paris.

These are the events they have coming up in November.

Friday, November 5th

Boîte Noire – What happened on board the Dubai-Paris flight before it crashed in the Alps? In this thriller Matthieu, a young and talented black box analyst played by Pierre Niney (star of Yves Saint-Laurent among other movies) is determined to solve the reason behind this deadly crash, no matter the costs. 

The screening will take place at the Club de l’étoile cinema at 8pm. But you can arrive early for drinks at the bar from 7pm. 

Tickets are €10 full price, €8 for students and all other concessions, and can be reserved here.

Sunday, November 14th

Tralala – In the mood for music? This new delightful French musical brings you into the life of Tralala (played by Mathieu Amalric), a 48 years old, homeless and worn-out street singer, who one day gets mistaken for someone else. Tralala sees an opportunity to get a better life by taking on a new personality. He now has a brother, nephews, ex-girlfriends, and maybe even a daughter. But where is the lie? Where is the truth? And who is he, deep down?

The night will start with drinks from 6pm followed by the screening at 7pm at the Luminor Hôtel de Ville cinema. There is also a two-hour cinema-themed walk where you’ll be taken on a “musicals movie tour” in the heart of Paris, which begins at 4pm.

Tickets cost €10, or €8 for students and concessions, and can be found here. Tickets for the walking tour cost €20 and must be reserved online here.

Thursday, November 18th

Illusions Perdues – Based on the great novel series by Honoré de Balzac between 1837 and 1843, this historical drama captures the writer Lucien’s life and dilemmas who dreams about a great career of writing and moves to the city to get a job at a newspaper. As a young poet entering the field of journalism, he is constantly challenged by his desire to write dramatic and eye-catching stories for the press. But are they all true?

The evening will kick off with drinks at L’Entrepôt cinema bar at 7pm, followed by the movie screening at 8pm. Tickets are available online here, and cost €8.50 full price; €7 for students and all other concessions.

Sunday, November 21st

Eiffel – Having just finished working on the Statue of Liberty, Gustave Eiffel (played by Romain Duris) is tasked with creating a spectacular monument for the 1889 Universal Exposition in Paris. It’s ultimately his love story with Adrienne Bourgès (Emma Mackey) that will inspire him to come up with the idea for the Eiffel Tower.

After a first screening last month, Lost in Frenchlation is organising a new one at the Luminor Hôtel de Ville cinema, with pre-screening drinks at the cinema bar. 

Tickets cost €10, or €8 for students and concessions, and can be found here

Thursday, November 25th

Les Héroïques – Michel is a former junkie and overgrown child who only dreams of motorbikes and of hanging out with his 17-year-old son Léo and his friends. But at 50 years old, he now has to handle the baby he just had with his ex, and try not to make the same mistakes he has done in the past. 

The film will be followed by a Q&A with the director Maxime Roy who will discuss his very first feature. 

Tickets cost €10, or €8 for students and concessions, and can be found here.

Full details of Lost in Frenchlation’s events can be found on their website or Facebook page. In France, a health pass is required in order to go to the cinema.