Crit­ics warn changes could un­der­mine Cannes film fes­ti­val

Arab News - - SPORTS - AFP

The row over changes to the Cannes film fes­ti­val grew Thurs­day when the scores of lead­ing in­ter­na­tional crit­ics joined the re­volt against the shake-up.

The top in­ter­na­tional crit­ics group Fipresci, which rep­re­sents film writ­ers in 52 coun­tries, joined French crit­ics who had ear­lier protested at the changes which they said would play havoc with the world’s most im­por­tant film fes­ti­val.

Its di­rec­tor Thierry Fre­maux raised hack­les ear­lier this week by chang­ing the tim­ings of press screen­ings so that some are held at the same time as gala red car­pet pre­mieres in the evenings.

He ar­gued holding gala and press screen­ings at the same time would put “the red car­pet back at the heart of the fes­ti­val,” and make both ex­cit­ing “big world events.” Tra­di­tion­ally press screen­ing were held be­fore the galas. But crit­ics will now have to wait till the next morn­ing to see half of the films in the main com­pe­ti­tion, while they com­plained they would have to fight for lim­ited places for the rest.

With the fes­ti­val host­ing more than 4,000 crit­ics, they fear up to two-thirds are likely to be ex­cluded from these screen­ings.

The Guardian’s critic Pe­ter Brad­shaw tweeted: “Whoa! I can’t help think­ing Cannes is sav­ing up grief for it­self with this!“

His French col­leagues agreed and the coun­try’s two main crit­ics’ groups have writ­ten to Fre­maux to ex­press their un­ease, warn­ing that me­dia cov­er­age of the fes­ti­val could be se­ri­ously ham­pered.

If the fes­ti­val goes ahead “in the con­di­tions it has an­nounced, there could be dam­ag­ing con­se­quences for the qual­ity of me­dia cov­er­age and for the fes­ti­val it­self,” they said.

Fipresci pres­i­dent Alin Tas­ciyan ar­gued for an em­bargo on the pub­li­ca­tion of re­views as hap­pens at many other lead­ing fes­ti­vals, a so­lu­tion which French crit­ics also en­dorsed.

She said her mem­bers were “afraid that the changes, as far as they’ve been pub­lished, func­tion in fa­vor of hasty opin­ions in so­cial me­dia and will have a dis­ad­van­ta­geous ef­fect on the qual­ity of the work of pro­fes­sional crit­ics.”

Chi­nese-Malaysian ac­tress Michelle Yeoh poses for selfies at the 70th edi­tion of the Cannes Film Fes­ti­val in Cannes. (AFP)

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