Editorial: Making One’s Mark

photo: from the book Cannes Cinema: A Visual History of the World’s Greatest Film Festival
Geraldine Chaplin photographed by The Traversos, Cannes, 1967


The Editorial: thoughts, short stories
or essays about the world of cinema

Someone I have collaborated with recently paid me one of the best compliments, telling me how grateful she was to meet people with similar values and who are not afraid to be different and stand with that in the current world. It’s pretty darn refreshing when you connect with people who share your way of thinking and envision a different value of time and culture than the one projected through the modern, mass means of communication, especially when the majority does the opposite. It’s actually downright cool to be different and have a thing to say, to make choices fueled by curiosity rather than social approval, driven by wondrous paths and your own inquisitive mind, guided by what you love. By tearing down convention you preserve what is meaningful.

The 75th Cannes Film Festival starts tomorrow, May 17th, and there are a few words I would like to quote (of Serge Toubiana, accompanying the book Cannes Cinema: A Visual History of the World’s Greatest Film Festival, with photographs by The Traversos) that capture an attitude that I wish still described the world we live in but in fact can hardly describe our present times: “Towards the middle of the decade (ed. note: the 1960s), imagination began to seize power, anticipating the passions of students who would soon take to the streets, in Paris and Berkeley, to challenge society. Other styles were invented, fashion was in fashion, living on the fringes became possible, desirable even. In and out of competition, the Cannes Film Festival reflected these different trends, without necessarily incorporating them. One had a choice: join in or do one’s own thing, it was up to each person to invent a style, to be him or herself while at the same time giving the impression of belonging to the times. Times in which one learned to make one’s mark, to stand out from the established order. Actors were better placed than anyone else to harness this zeitgeist. It was up to them to express it, to establish its modes of expression and gestures. Here, Geraldine Chaplin does so with some grace. Not just her father’s daughter, in 1967 she also presented Robert Hossein’s out-of-competition film, J’ai tué Raspoutin (I Killed Rasputin), in which she had performed.”

More than half a century on, do actors still have the ability and courage to stand out from the established order? I would love actors to be makers who maintain culture.


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