The most prestigious annual film festival in the world runs for ten days every May in the city of Cannes. It is a gathering place for industry elite, star-gazing spectators and droves of obligatory paparazzi. The palm-fringed oceanfront so dear to this bustling resort town, the warm climate that supports it, the restaurants and hotels that cater to its celebrated guests, the electricity generated by the cream of international cinema—all of it conspires to make Cannes at film festival time a place of surreal sights and sounds.
The film festival began inauspiciously in Venice in 1932. By 1939 Italian fascism and the specter of war had tainted its immediacy and the venue moved to Cannes. In 1946 following WWII it revved up and by the mid-1950s it had become the racy glamour fête so immortalized by the image of an alluring Brigitte Bardot on the beach.
Today it is the place to see and be seen for anyone into the cinema and celebrity. Access to screenings and related social events generally is restricted to industry professionals and the press, but overall the Palais des Festivals and its environs conjure an absorbing spectacle.
For information and accreditation contact Festival de Cannes, Film Department, 3 rue Amélie, 75007 Paris, France; tel +33 (0)1 53 59 61 71; fax +33 (0)1 53 59 61 70. On the Internet visit the official site at www.festival-cannes.fr, or a guide to the film festival at www.cannesguide.com. For general information about Cannes contact Office du Tourisme, Esplanade Georges Pompidou, BP 272, 06403 Cannes Cedex; tel +33 (0)4 92 99 84 22; fax +33 (0)4 92 99 84 23.
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