The history of the Cannes Film Festival is closely linked to that of its trophy, the Palme d’Or, the most popular award in the world of cinema. This hides some secrets that we reveal to you here.
Every year, it’s the same story: around twenty feature films compete on La Croisette for a prestigious award: the Palme d’Or. A coveted trophy whose secrets are revealed to you.
1 – The arms of the city of Cannes
Awarded for the first time in 1955, the Palme d’Or is a direct tribute to the city of Cannes: it is indeed drawn from the arms of the city of the Côte d’Azur. The first lucky winner will be Marty by Delbert Mann. Previously, the winner was awarded the “Grand Prix of the International Film Festival”: a diploma and a trophy signed by a fashionable artist.
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2 – 1975: the official trophy
After returning to the “Festival Grand Prix”, the Palme d’Or becomes the official award. It has been the official logo since the 1980s.
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3 – An evolving trophy
In 1992, the jeweler Thierry de Bourqueney modernized the palm. Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele, president of the Swiss jewelry maker Chopard, gave it a facelift in 1997. Since that date, the house has had the exclusive right to produce it as well as that of the two Palmettes, awarded in the Interpretation Prize to two actors. .
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4 – 118 grams of yellow gold
The Palme weighs 118 grams of yellow gold and is 13.5 centimeters long and 9 centimeters wide. It is worked from an 18-carat gold ingot (75% gold and 25% copper and silver alloy), poured at 760 ° in a plaster mold where a wax copy which melts under the effect of heat but leaves its mark.
5 – An expensive palm
With such materials, the Palme is worth nearly 20,000 euros and requires more than 40 hours of work. Note that a copy is also created in the event of a material accident or a tie award.
6 – What about women?
Fewer female filmmakers in the selection, therefore less chance of seeing a Palm awarded to one of them. Jane Campion, with The Piano Lesson, is the only historical winner of the Palme d’Or. Nice revenge: his film released in 1993 was one of the biggest successes in the history of award-winning feature films, with almost 2.7 million viewers.
7 – Filmmakers at the Double Palme
Nine directors won two Palmes d’Or: Bille August (Shovel the Conqueror in 1988 and The Best Intentions in 1992), Francis Ford Coppola (Secret conversation in 1974 and Apocalypse Now (tied) in 1979), Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne (Rosetta in 1999 and The Child in 2005), Michael haneke (The White Ribbon in 2009 and Love in 2012), Shohei Imamura (The Ballad of Narayama in 1983 and The eel (tied) in 1997), Emir Kusturica (Dad is on a business trip in 1985 and Underground in 1995), Ken loach (The wind picks up in 2006 and Me, Daniel Blake in 2016) and Alf Sjöberg (The Trial, Grand Prix tied with ten other films in 1946, and Miss Julie (tied) in 1951).
8 – American cinema at the party
Of the 70 Palms awarded since 1955, 16 were awarded to American films. France shone between 1955 and 1965, Italian cinema the following decade. After years of scarcity, French cinema has straightened its head thanks to Laurent Cantet for Between the walls and Abdellatif Kechiche for The Life of Adele.
9 – And the youngest winner is …
It is Steven soderbergh who, at 26, was awarded for Sex, lies and video in 1989. The average age of the award-winning director is 48.
10 – La Palme, a guarantee of success?
Not necessarily, even if this gives prestige to the film, which could have remained confined to the “auteur cinema” box. The Best Intentions by Bille August (1992) for example, attracted only 92,000 spectators, while The Wages of Fear (1953) was a big success, with nearly 7 million admissions (no competition with television at the time, it is true).
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