Official selection 
A book by Cannes film festival director

ot a single bookstore. Along the long stretch of Cannes, which stretches for about ten kilometers, there is not a single bookstore. Between the empty clothing stores and bustling restaurants, there is only the English Book Store on the street, imported by Napoleon, who moved here in 1815 on his way north to Paris. The local convention center, which hosts dozens of tourism fairs and real estate all year round, is the permanent residence of the Cannes Festival, which is celebrating its seventy-first year.

The first captain of the festival was not a movie actor or a renowned director but a politician. It was Jean Zai, who had not yet been removed from his post and imprisoned by the Vichy regime, served as minister of education and art of the French government between 1936-1939. Zai, a descendant of a Jewish family on the part of his father and a favorite of the radical socialist movement, worked to establish an international film festival in France in 1932. His passion for cinema was not an artistic wish, but rather a cultural and political alternative to the Venice Film Festival, which was also founded by politicians. These were officials of the Fascist regime in Italy who awarded prizes to Mussolini without a professional jury. Zai's initiative encountered many political and economic difficulties and his vision was realized only after his death, about two years after his murder in 1944. During the sixty-nine years since then, no official book or memorandum has been published by the festival's directors that reveals the backstage of the red carpets French, then as today.

For the seventieth year, the book of the director of the current Cannes Film Festival Thierry Premo - the official choice / diary, notes and journeys - has been published for a year in his life, from the closing of the 2015 festival until the end of the next festival edition in May 2016. Fermo is the festival's sixth director Director of the Lumière Institute in Lyon, working to preserve the films of the pioneers of French cinema. His heavy diary can be found in Cannes only at the festival's souvenir shop. Shirts with coffee cups, key chains dangling under the scarves and posters that carry the festival logo and a single book, as if it were a popular Bible for tourists, and will travel with David Linate to dinner with Tarantino. In Paris.

The six hundred and sixteen pages of the diary, crammed with scant gossip and circling the meeting hall of Fermo with filmmakers (including telephones, text messages, and emails), will exhaust and disappoint those who wish to bow down to star dust. The content of the conversations with directors and actresses on films that were received or not received for the festival is abbreviated to anecdotes lacking interest. Already in the prologue, the author apologizes for the banality of the contents of the diary by quoting from the opening to one of the books of the "Dan Yak" of the Swiss poet Blais Sanders. Sanders devoted one of the novels in the series to the director Abel Gance in 1929, which was known for his revolutionary film Napoleon, which was released two years earlier:


You, my dear, but I dedicate the novel,

Neither intelligence nor sensitivity,

But to violence and vitality.

I'm not looking for a new form of art, not even for writing,

But to express well the general state of health of tomorrow:

We will crumble

Whoever wants to play an angel, the animal role will be signed

Long live man!

post Scriptum.

All philosophies are not worth one night of love

As he said, I think, Shakespeare.

(Translated from Hebrew)

Like Sanders, Fermo is also not afraid to expose the earthiness that accompanies his work from meeting to meeting, neither of which will help humanity nor expand anyone's mind. But the fear of the disintegration of culture and its people reflected through the situation of filmmakers, hovering over the book from beginning to end. Reading the diary only as a tour of the international film community and nothing else, will find itself dizzy and impatient.

While the references to many names emphasize the passing fads of world cinema in 2016, Fermo's diary stretches far beyond that year and draws the iconic portrait of the festival throughout its years of management during a period of cultural and aesthetic change. His fears are reminiscent of encounters between filmmakers starred in the 20th century and forgotten by those who shine in the 20th century, his sadness for abandoning the film in favor of the digital art that marks the end of artistic cinema, and his disappointment with the collapse of cinema criticism and the domination of social media. These also mislead and mislead the creators and audience to the author's chagrin.

The book, as happens in a parallel universe, takes care of the dignity of the creators and relates only to the expressions of affection and generosity between them. Many pages are devoted to his admiration for the intergenerational dialogue on Holocaust representation in cinema between Claude Lanzmann and the Hungarian director Lazlo Nemes, in the presence of Fermo and his mediation. Even saying hello and shaking hands among filmmakers is interpreted by him as an exceptional human act. "Amos Gitai, who presented his film 'Rabin: Last Day' at the Venice Film Festival, crossed the restaurant where I was sitting to shake the hand of the director Bertrand Twerney, and I always like to see two directors respect each other even though they do not come from the same family." (P. 136)

These tales distract the reader from the central narrative of the diary, which is dripping onto his spine, almost without realizing it. His only plot concerns the retirement of Fermo from the Cannes Film Festival in light of the exchange of manhood in France's three national cultural institutions: the French Cinematheque, the National Film Institute and the theaters of the film Pathé. The proposals to replace their leaders arrive in Fermo immediately after the 2015 festival and shake it when the refugee crisis and terrorist attacks of that year are in the background, including the murder of caricaturists of the weekly Sherli Bevo. His meetings with the rising leftist politician Audrey Azoulay, who once ran the National Film Institute and served as Francois Hollande's cultural adviser at the time of writing the diary, should help him with his doubts. The dissonance between Fermo's meetings with filmmakers and those dealing with politicians and administrators of French culture undermines him and serves as the building blocks

Its sloppy and random structure is momentarily organized as a tower of cards in each of the French president's surprise visits to the festival's offices or to Fermo's references to the national dimension of cinema. After a political pause, writing collapses into the dispersion of everyday life and to casual conversations with filmmakers who have a heavy cloud of melancholy and death hovering over them.


For Israeli eyes, Fermo seems to be sitting on a fence with filmmakers on one side and politicians on the other. However, their inclusion in a journal of texts by artists, poets and writers, which became national symbols in France and abroad, signals a completely different position. Quotations from Stendhal, Gainesburg, Farber, Akhmetova, Brasens and others adorn the diary and dismantle this separation fence. In Fermo's consciousness, nationalism is cinema and cinema is nationalism and can not be separated. The official choice of the Cannes Film Festival is a collection of films selected each year, the author explains, not only by the story they bring to the big screen, and not just by the number of stars walking on the red carpet. The cinematic aesthetics, that is, the means of expression of the artistic medium in photography, editing, through the artist's unique gaze, are obliged to relate to the tradition and cinematic heritage of his country. In the gap between the greedy festival parties and the economic poverty of filmmakers, Fermo manages to catch something of the wind in the machine. At the time of writing the diary, many directors around the world were arrested, arrested and imprisoned, and their national status seems to have reached a point of no return. The days when writers, musicians, plastic artists and clarinets aroused international and international media attention have passed, and the prestige of government officers, on the right and the left, has been almost entirely grasped by those who hold the camera.

In one of his comic moments, Fermo writes the scene in which Angela Merkel arrived in Greece on vacation and the international media of the year 2015 was stirred up by her dialogue with the Greek border officers at the airport. When asked "What is your profession?" "No, I'm only here for a few days." The days of politicians' freedom from their occupation are not the domain of artists whose art is their teaching, the author notes several times in the diary. In a toast with the French president after the festival, Fermo quotes the president and adds his own ironic remarks of narration that only the reader can hear. Fermo: "It's a shame that the Americans do not come to see the French president's close ties with culture." "Someone told me that the president was surprised to read about the existence of socialist films at the festival that address the economic crisis in the world." President: "Films They are about the dramas of life, about the women and men who escape or fight and which movies must relate to. "Fermo: With or without an economic crisis, the cinema brings the story of those ... (p. 28) While Bernard-Henri Levy is going to the festival in front of an enthusiastic audience After his film Peshmerga, Fermo watches him from a distance and wonders about the power of literature versus that of the cinema in the hands of the creator. Who documented the struggle of the Kurdish forces in Iraq against the Da'ash fighters and was screened in the presence of Kurdish army officers appearing in the film. "When we left the hall, the sunlight dazzled us and brought us back to the festival after almost two hours when we were not in Cannes but within the borders of the Islamic state.

The official choice was published in French and translated into no other language, not even English, at the moment of writing. Perhaps thanks to the scorn of French literary criticism which he saw as an unimportant gossip book that illuminated the festival and its author with a flattering light of public relations and nothing more. The director's diary is not only personal to the author. He reveals in his way the connections and tensions between politicians and filmmakers and between nationalism and the Seventh Art, in a republic that established national institutions for this art in 1901, a few years after the birth of cinema. Perhaps this book should not be translated into any language but will be rewritten in every country and country in the article and in every language and language by the local film community. It is precisely through literature, not social networks, the salon talks and the photographed awards ceremonies that evaporate in the air. Perhaps through it, it is possible to document and perceive what is going on at this time, before the red carpet in the town of Seret Chen is spread again on the Ligurian shore.