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Monday, 21 May, 2001, 13:48 GMT 14:48 UK
Is Cannes losing its influence?

Cannes Film Festival kicks off with the world première of Baz Luhrmann's lavish can-can drama Moulin Rouge, starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor.

The international film festival which began in 1939, has always prided itself on its eclectic and classy movie line-up.

Originally it was created as a showcase for European film. But over the years Hollywood and Asian films have increasingly made more of a mark.

Has Cannes lost its unique character? Is Hollywood turning Cannes into just another industry shindig?

This Talking Point is now closed. Read your comments below.

One feels it would be a great loss for this medium to be influenced (for the worse) by American culture. My belief is that European films are amongst the most creative and inspiring in the world. One remembers watching Billy Elliot and having tears in one's eyes at the final scene when the maturing Billy performed Swan Lake in front of his father. One simply doesn't get this kind of emotional response from American films, which on the whole are either full of mindless violence or corny garbage.
Sean Gibson, Brit living in Germany

Well, that IS the movie business

John Groth, USA
The whole history of the film industry has been one big 'shindig'! To anyone who might want to complain about excesses in a cheerfully and garishly excessive business, I say the same as I do to my wife when she objects about a film, "It wasn't like the book". I say, "NO, it was a film, not a book". Well, that IS the movie business: hoopla and shindigs!
John Groth, USA

I am an American who loves British films and who regularly haunts the local alternative theatre to find them. However, nothing can beat a Hollywood blockbuster like Titanic on the big screen. I think Hollywood will always be with us, but I hope the Brits will continue to make the smaller, more thoughtful and funny films that I love to see.
Jane Penwell, USA

The wheel of fashion turns. It will turn again, it always does. Cannes will live on as a truly great festival.
Nick, Australia

American dollars will buy out Cannes sooner or later

American dollars will buy out Cannes sooner or later. Film will only be viewed as an art form by true film enthusiasts. Hollywood has already popularised its brainless, fast-food version of film all over the world. Quite in line with the American cultural invasion of the world that will soon transform everything to cheese. The last vestige of culture will be, let me see, Britain. Not!

There are two good things about Cannes, celebs and more celebs.
Jee, India

The Cannes festival plays an important part in international relationships. What other film festival openly allows so many different countries and cultures to showcase their talents and skills? Hollywood is not the be-all-and-end-all of the film industry.
Kiran, Bristol, UK

The sinister side of Cannes is to be found in the deals done by Hollywood's moguls to ensure that our audiences will continue to be passively happy with the same drivel that works in America. Cannes is not a celebration of luvvies - it is an exercise in standardisation.
Nicholas Hadjinikos, Dublin, Eire

Cannes is the Hollywood equal of a high school dance

Andy Lurie, USA
If Hollywood doesn't pat itself on the back every 15 minutes, it may die. Cannes is nothing more than another press opportunity for the flavours of the month to show off their new evening wear. Cannes is the Hollywood equal of a high school dance: it's vital and important to the participants, and utterly pointless to those not involved.
Andy Lurie, Chicago-USA

Put simply, it shows just how spineless the whole Hollywood movie industry has become and how discredited the Oscars now are. The Cannes film festival is now the most prestigious by far, like it or not. Hollywood is over! To win the Palme D'Or means something.
Sean C, England

I think that the future of cinema is brighter for independent productions

Kelly, Seattle, USA
I think that the future of cinema is brighter for independent productions than for cookie-cutter Hollywood pieces. As with many American institutions, Hollywood is behind the curve.
Kelly, Seattle, USA

If history tells us anything, it's that nothing, no matter how dominant or imperious, lasts for ever. Egypt, Greece, Rome or Hollywood. It will not last forever!
Van Martin, England

For many Continental Europeans, Cannes is about cinema and I hope we don't lose it. Hollywood is nothing more that another Bollywood, indoctrination for the masses with ridiculous stories. My respect to good American film directors, my disdain to those who think Hollywood has anything more to offer other than the hardcore marketing of stars and American morals.
C.O., UK

I've been a part of the Sundance Film Festival in the USA for years and have watched it grow into a "bloated Hollywood shindig" as well. I believe this is just the natural course of economic growth. Hollywood will soon take over all the economies in the entire world thus forcing everyone to watch its bland drivel.
Jeff Klinger, USA

Long live Cannes!

Andy Millward, UK
Subtle difference: Cannes objectively bestows award upon films based on merit; Hollywood generally makes films without merit and rewards with Oscars based on many political factors, of which the qualities of the film and actors are only part of the equation. Long live Cannes!
Andy Millward, UK

Hollywood must be entitled to enter its movies for consideration and Cannes must be allowed to accept those they feel worthy of such nominations. Those which deserve to win, will surely win. The others will just wither and die.
Mart, Canada

I must say thanks to France for being the only country in Europe with the courage and will to stand against Hollywood. They are also so open-minded enough to award, Iran, China and other countries with its highest prize, which Hollywood would never accept, beside "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" which of course got its Oscars because of its strong American influences.
KH, Canada

Does Hollywood make some mindless films? Yes. These same mindless films are at the top of the box-office in the UK and around the world. Hollywood also makes some of the best films of the world along with the dreck, and they should be represented at Cannes.
Robert, USA

Well, the Americans have taken over every other aspect of the world - it could only be a matter of time before they encroached upon the historical and cultural richness of Europe. I disagree, however, that bars and restaurants along the front are overpriced. I have been to Cannes many times and my feeling is that the excellent good-value food and drinks available, as well as the scenery make the fake facade of Hollywood pale into insignificance. Who wants LA, when you can have the Med?

The whole thing goes over my head. However it's good for the local economy. I go there most weekends and not EVERYONE living in Cannes is rich and famous. Let 'em enjoy!
Steve, UK

It must remain at the cutting edge of film in the world today, not simply the puppy dog of Hollywood

Joanne Sheridan, UK
Cannes needs to find the best films across all the different cultures of the world. It also needs to show-off new technological innovations in the film industry. In short, it must remain at the cutting edge of film in the world today, not simply the puppy dog of Hollywood.
Joanne Sheridan, UK

Of course it will wane, the shallow and vacuous cannot concentrate for long
Gerry, Scotland

The Cannes Film Festival has achieved exactly what it set out to do - attract so-called media stars to an event that will make shedloads of cash for the over-priced restaurants and boutiques in the area. If this festival had set out to be so different to all of the other dreary self-serving celeb luvvie-fests, then it would be showcasing new and exciting works from unknown writers, producers, actors, etc. It certainly wouldn't have Hollywood (alleged) personalities like Nicole Kidman there! Now is the time for the festival organisers to either cut down on the Hollywood influence or shut up and stop trying to make themselves out to be something they're not.
Debbie, UK

Cannes has only become the massive hit it has because of the inclusion of Hollywood celebrities

Rebecca Southwell, UK
Cannes has only become the massive hit it has because of the inclusion of Hollywood celebrities. No interest was ever likely to be maintained in the old style Cannes in an era where the media are only ever concerned with the winning formula of plausible scripts and world renowned media attention grabbing film stars.
Rebecca Southwell, UK

I do not think Cannes has lost its character. It has always reflected where the best movies are coming from, and if this so happens to be the US this year, then good on them. There have been a few raised eyebrows over the selection of Shrek, the up and coming animation piece from Dreamworks. However, this film represents a new era in films. Animation has now reached a stage where we may no longer need real actors and actresses because it is now so life-like. The festival is about films, not where they have come from
Jeff Scholey, UK

If the luvvies want to make films and then congratulate themselves for it, let them. I'm happy to wait for the film to be broadcast on telly.

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See also:

09 May 01 | Film
Kidman sets Cannes in motion
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