The Cannes Film Festival had some hot moments, even when the sun was not shining above the Croisette. Some directors, who were welcomed in the morning with open arms, left the palace the same evening with their fists raised. Madelen invites you to discover or rediscover some of these scandals. They took place at a time when social networks did not exist. If they happened today, it is obvious that they would create a buzz and be seen by millions of Internet users. Back in 1973… The French selection offers La grande bouffe and La Maman et la whore. In both cases, the whistles are unanimous. The story of these four forty-year-olds who committed suicide by eating is deemed “obscene, licentious and pornographic.” To these criticisms, Marco Ferreri responds that he has written a story which is not psychological, but physiological. He wanted to denounce, in his own way, the consumer society. Accused of being vulgar, Philippe Noiret, more impassive than ever, replied that “vulgarity is found just as much in Cannes as on French television”. This did not prevent the director from receiving the international critics’ prize. André Astoux, director of the Cinema Center, then declared: “I have seen this film twice, I would be happy to see it a third time.” It triggers a hubbub of protests that José Artur, master of ceremonies, will try in vain to put an end to.

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The climate is also tense when Jean Eustache is awarded the Special Grand Prize by a jury chaired by Ingrid Bergman. Gilles Jacob declares that this is the worst film of the year. It is then critical. In 1977, he became general delegate of the Festival. One wonders what would have happened if he had taken office four years earlier.

In 1974, Claude Lelouch was vilified after the “out of competition” screening of Tout une vie. He decides to respond to the whistles with a press conference during which the names of birds will not fly very high. “We were called idiots” said Marthe Keller, an observer of a verbal fight during which Lelouch showed that he was the type not to be defeated by the attacks of a critic. He answers her, eye to eye, “if you want we watch the film again together in a room without a whistler, and you listen to the text, the intentions and why we arrive at things”. Maurice Pialat did not have the same reaction in 1987 upon receiving the Palme d’Or for Under Satan’s Sun. The moment where he declares to the audience, “you don’t like me, I don’t like you either” has become cult.

Ten years later, Mathieu Kassovitz, in turn, gave himself an arm of honor at the end of the screening of Assassins, of which Michel Serrault was the headliner. Two years earlier, Hate had earned him a directing award, but also reviews matching the title of the film. He blamed these criticisms on journalists for whom the image of the Festival was limited to spotlighting a few starlets. This is how he decided to repeat his provocation with, behind the scenes, a full-blown attack on the media. The backlash did not take long. He was criticized for making “the worst film in the history of cinema.” Finally, in 2002, Irréversible by Gaspard Noé, edited in reverse and composed solely of sequence shots, was not spared either after a screening, deliberately scheduled at midnight. The nine-minute rape of the female character in an underground cell is described as “unbearable” and “lamentable”. At the exit, a spectator in her fifties rushed towards the director and his performers, Monica Bellucci, Vincent Cassel and Albert Dupontel, and called out to them: “It’s a horror, you should never have done a movie like that.” It’s called saying out loud what others, in shock, have not dared to say out loud.