The Cannes International Film Festival is widely considered one of the greatest showcases of cinema in the world, one of the most prestigious stages for any filmmaker! With all the hype surrounding this year’s festival, here’s some facts you may not have known about it’s grand prize, the Palme d’Or:
The Palme d’Or (or “Golden Palm”) is the highest prize awarded at the Cannes Film Festival.
It was first introduced in 1955 (awarded for the first time to Delbert Mann and his film, Marty), briefly replaced by the Grand Prix prize, and reintroduced in 1975. It has since been considered one of the highest honors a filmmaker can achieve and has remained the most-recognized symbol of the Festival.
The Festival’s Board of Directors invited several contemporary artists and jewelers to submit designs for a palm, in tribute to the coat of arms of the City of Cannes. The original Palme was designed by Lucienne Lazon, with the beveled lower extremity of the stalk forming a heart. The pedestal sculpture was made from terracotta by the artist Sébastie.
Per festival policy, films that win this award cannot receive any other additional awards in the competition. This led to the controversial decision by the Steven Spielberg-headed jury of 2013’s Festival to award Three Golden Palms to the winning film, Blue is The Warmest Color (two for the actresses Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux and one for the director Abdellatif Kechiche).
The Palme was redesigned several times during it’s history. In the early 1980s, the pedestal bearing the palm transformed to become pyramidal. In 1992, Thierry de Bourqueney redesigned the Palme and it’s pedestal in hand-cut crystal.
There are 19 leaves on the famous Palm Leaf that is currently awarded (since 1997). It was designed by Caroline Scheufele from Chopard of Geneve. It is presented in a case of blue Morocco leather. The 24-carat gold Palm, hand cast in a wax mould, sits on a single piece of fine cut crystal.
There are only six people in the world to have won more than one Palme D’or:
Alf Sjöberg (1946, 1951)
Francis Ford Coppola (1974, 1979)
Bille August (1988, 1992)
Emir Kusturica (1985, 1995)
Shohei Imamura (1983, 1997)
Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne (1999, 2005)
Michael Haneke (2009, 2012)
New Zealand-born Jane Campion is the only female director to have been awarded the Palme, for the film The Piano (1993).
MustSeeCinema will guide you through all of the festivities this year. In the spirit of Cannes, and to quote Mr. Quentin Tarantino, Vive le cinéma!!!