Cannes Film Festival: the secrets of making the Palme d’Or

It is one of the most prestigious awards of the 7th art. Since 1997, the Swiss jewelry house Chopard has the exclusivity of the creation of the Palme d’Or awarded each year in Cannes at the time of the Film Festival. Discover behind the scenes of the realization of this Holy Grail of the 7th art.

The Palme d’Or, the symbol of the Cannes Film Festival

It was in 1946 that the first edition of the Cannes Film Festival took place. An unmissable event in international cinema born after France, the United States and England decided to no longer present films at the Venice Film Festival. The reason ? In July 1938, the Mostra, which was the first international competition dedicated to the 7th art, was already under extreme right-wing political pressure from in particular Adolf Hitler who exerted pressure so that the highest distinction “the Mussolini Cup” was not awarded. not awarded to the American film in competition.

In France, the idea was born of giving Europe a film festival that was not influenced by political maneuvers. If the creation of the famous Cannes Film Festival was announced in June 1939, the war canceled the first edition which was scheduled for September of the same year. It was therefore at the end of the war, in a traumatized France that the event was born, bringing a jet-set revival to the Metropolis. Corn it was not until 1955 that the first Palme d’Or in the history of the Festival was awarded. At the time, it was Lucienne Lazon, a French jeweler who designed the Palme d’Or.

Starting with the coat of arms of the city of Cannes (a silver palm accompanied by two fleur-de-lys, editor’s note), like the Golden Lion of Venice or the Golden Bear of Berlin, the palm went from a rounded base to a pyramidal base (1984), before being modernized by Thierry de Bourqueney (1992) . It was finally redesigned by Caroline Scheufele, president of Swiss jewelry Chopard, in 1998.


118 grams of yellow gold placed on a block of rock crystal

At the time, the latter then took up the motif of the palm, in reference to the palm trees that border the Croisette and which symbolize the city’s coat of arms. A victorious palm, coveted by the greatest directors, which marks the beginning of an effusive relationship between Chopard and the Festival.

In homage to the sweetness of life and the elegance of the French Riviera, Caroline Scheufele draws a simplified, precious Palm, whose stem forms a small heart – fetish emblem of the jewelry house – with nineteen leaflets that seem to beat. peacefully in the wind. More than just a price, it is a precious jewel weighing 118 grams of 18-carat yellow gold which rests on a rock crystal in the shape of an emerald-cut diamond.

In all, the Palm measures 13.5 centimeters long and 9 centimeters wide. Since it is made by hand, each Palme d’Or is unique and requires 40 hours of work from five artisans in the house. Each year, the book is slightly different from the previous year: in 2017, to celebrate the 70th edition, diamonds were added.

Two Palmes d’Or made each year

For the anecdote, two Palmes d’Or are systematically produced for each edition, in order to deal with any accident, theft or even a tie. In 2013, 3 copies of the latter even had to be produced when the jury chaired by Steven Spielberg chose to reward Abdellatif Kechiche as well as the actresses Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos for the film. The Life of Adele.

Since the 2014 edition, Chopard jewelry, which is committed to sustainable luxury, has preferred to abandon recycled gold in favor of certified fair trade gold. “Fairmined“. According to estimates, and although it is designed free of charge for the Festival, a Palme d’Or has a value of around € 20,000. It is transported in a trunk created specifically for it, which avoids shocks. Preserved in an undisclosed place guarded by two agents, it will not be brought into the Grand Théâtre Lumière of the Palais des Festivals than at the time of the closing ceremony.

In addition to the Palme d’Or, other trophies are also awarded: a mini Palme rewarding the best short film and rock crystals engraved with a palm for those winning the other prizes.

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Cannes Film Festival: the secrets of making the Palme d’Or