The International Film Festival – What can it bring? (part 1)

The first international film festival was held in Venice, Italy in 1932 (Valck, 2016, p.28);It is also called the father of the film festival. Then after the Second World War, the International Film Festival played an important role in promoting the development of the film industry in many countries. There are hundreds of international film festivals around the world. It has various forms and types, among which the famous film festivals are Cannes film festival in France, Venice film festival in Italy, Berlin film festival in Germany, Tokyo film festival in Japan, Shanghai international film festival, Beijing international film festival and many more. They all have major international implications. As Valck (2016) points, “Every day of the year somewhere in the world, one or more film festivals take place”. The international film festival attracts film artists, filmmakers, film distributors, film critics, as well as journalists and film lovers from many countries. During the film festival, people can not only observe the films from various countries to promote cultural exchanges but also learn about the development trends of world films and negotiate film trade. That is what international film festival can bring.


The international film festival is an international cultural exchange activity. It uses films to build a platform to connect the world culture. Valck (2016) said, “Film festivals are an established part of the global cultural field”, it directly promotes the exchange and development of culture. Iordanova (2016) states, “Film festivals are places for transnational encounters and exchanges”. The film plays the role of cultural emissary in intercultural communication in Film Festival. The film conveys a large amount of cultural information through pictures, shots, colors, and languages. The film language is one of the most homogeneous art languages, whose intuitiveness makes the audience easy to understand. For example, Hollywood movies promote the development of American popular culture (Elsaesser, 2005, p.198). The message of exotic culture conveyed by Hollywood films,for the Chinese audience, not only the film directly felt the American sentiment, but also gradually accepted the American value orientation. Besides, the language, manners, costumes, and music of American movie stars directly guide the fashion trend of Chinese people.

Meanwhile, China also spreads Chinese culture abroad through film and film festivals. A large number of Chinese directors attend film festivals with their works. They show Chinese culture to the rest of the world with their unique perspectives and expression methods. All these have prompted the western world to pay more attention to Chinese films and the Chinese culture contained in them. For example, the film “Farewell My Concubine”, which won an award at the 1993 Cannes International Film Festival, took the Chinese National Peking Opera to the world and also reflected the political situation in a certain period in China.


Like the films themselves, film festivals act as metaphorical Windows to the world. They can affect our aesthetic tastes, our political beliefs and our outlook on life. The film festival could change our perception of the world (Valck, 2016, p.25).


Elsaesser, T 2005, European Cinema: Face to Face with Hollywood, Amsterdam University Press.

Valck d, M & Kredell, B & Loist S 2016, Film Festivals: History, Theory, Method, Practice, Routledge.



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