Business and the death of Art.

Over at The Hot Blog David Poland has just post a piece responding to the currently in vogue “does Cannes matter” question. (His answer seems to be “not really”)  Some salient quotes:

I’m not saying it should die an immediate death or that the event has no value. That’s too big a swing. My question is, “What if Cannes didn’t exist?”

And that answer is… Tribeca would become Cannes or LAFF could become Cannes or some such thing. And what “Cannes” is in that scenario is “the middle festival.” Sundance kicks off American indies in January. Berlin, more muscular every year, gets a lot of business done right after.

[…]

Eugene is not just sucking back Kool-Aid[in an indieWire article he wrote yesteday]. He writes, “Twelve days of moviegoing and movie business in the South of France is a particularly priviledged assignment, particularly in a period when so many people have lost jobs, seen companies downsize or disappear altogether. Those of us who are lucky enough to be here for Cannes #62 are getting a preview of what’s to come in cinema for the next year or more.”

Yes… and no. It is a very specific, very limited view. One or two films at the fest will have an impact beyond the cineaste community in this country. And more often than not, those films go to Cannes with a distributor or with the bidding war set up ahead of time. Moreover, many films get destroyed by the festival – as at Sundance – when the response is either overwhelmingly negative or worse, disinterested. (See: Che’)

This piece is indicative of everything I hate about the film business world. The only argument Poland is making here is that Cannes is expensive and focuses on uncommercial films. He never addresses the reality that LAFF and Tribeca aren’t in the same game as Cannes. Name the significant aesthetic discoveries of Sundance Film Festival in the last 10 years. Try. They are playing the Amerindie or prepackaged with C list stars straight to DVD market that have little to nothing to do with pushing forward the art of cinema. Cannes, and to a lesser extent Berlin and Venice, do that.

Cannes matters because it treats film as art and not as vehicles to make money for the company distributing them.

Cannes advances cinema as art, and if that is forgotten then the better question is “does film matter”.

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