Monday, May 28, 2012

What he said

Jonathan McCalmont on this year's Cannes shortlist and eventual award (which went to Haneke's Amour and though of course I'm happy about that...):
Clearly, this shit is intolerable.

Aside from the obvious moral arguments about inclusivity and discrimination, there is also an important aesthetic argument to be made about the importance of unfamiliarity to the art house cinematic experience. Indeed, chief among the many pleasures of art house film is its ability to introduce us to whole new ways of seeing the world. For example, when Apichatpong Weerasethakul won in 2010 for Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, he was not only being rewarded for his cinematography and storytelling but also for his great skill at articulating what it must be like to see the world through his eyes, the eyes of a forty year-old gay man from Thailand. Similarly, when Cristian Mungiu won the Plame d’Or for 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days he was not only being rewarded for the skill with which he explored the issue of abortion, but also for his capacity to speak for an entire generation of Romanians who grew up under the rule of Nicolae Ceauşescu. Central to the appeal of art house cinema is its peerless ability to show us the world from an entirely different perspective. Indeed, it is telling that the success of both Weerasthakul and Mungiu lead directly to explosions of critical interest in films from their respective countries.  Art house cinema is all about new perspectives and art house cinema audiences are forever crying out for new ways of seeing the world.

By choosing only established male directors for competition, 2012 Cannes festival organisers ensured that their Palme d’Or would introduce no new conceptual blood into the cinematic bloodstream.

By choosing a shortlist dominated by elderly men, Cannes festival organisers denied art house cinema audiences the chance to discover something genuinely new.

I've long felt that Cannes has become less interesting as the years go by and vaguely remember mentioning this phenomenon of Old White Men dominating the competition section. So basically, what Jonathan said.

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