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September 20

Cannes Film Festival

Filmmakers lucky enough to have their work shown hope for a shot at the Palme d’Or—the Golden Palm, the highest award a film can earn here.

1946: Stars, Paparazzi, and Cinéma
The first Cannes Film Festival takes place
For 12 days in May, this annual event, set in the luxurious seaside resort of Cannes, France, is a showcase for new movies. While it’s an opportunity to watch films and spot celebrities, the festival began for political reasons. In 1939, Jean Renoir's film The Grand Illusion was passed over at the Venice Film Festival; top honors went to films made by Germany's Ministry of Propaganda and by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini's son.

French, British, and American filmmakers withdrew from the competition to protest what they considered an overtly political decision, and the French government agreed to underwrite the cost of a rival film festival that would be free of political bias. At Cannes, films have always been judged on their artistic merits alone.
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