City, politics and the film festival

To discuss the relationship between city and Film Festival, we must talk about the origin of Film Festival. Founded in 1931, the Venice Film Festival is the world’s first film festival, known as the “father of the International Film Festival”. It originated from the use of film cultural functions by Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, and the Italian fascist regime saw the potential of film as a manipulative tool.

The Cannes Film Festival, founded in 1939, was aimed at confronting the Venice International Film Festival, then controlled by the Italian fascist regime. This unique phenomenon of European geopolitics promoted the development of the film festival at that time, and promoted the film festival as a global cultural phenomenon. The film festival cannot be separated from geopolitical links, the city’s politics, economy and culture. The cultural and commercial functions of the festival can feed the city back.

If the production, distribution and projection of films are summed up as the value chain of industry within the film industry system, the relationship between the film festival and the city needs to be discussed in the value chain of industry outside the film industry system.

The film festival has led the development of Cannes’s once seaside fishing village in the fast lane. At present, Cannes Film Festival is one of the most influential film festivals in the world, known as the “Window of the World Film”. The film became an important symbol of Cannes, and the image of the golden palm leaves made Cannes the highlight of the Mediterranean coast. In 2017, the seventieth Cannes Film Festival received 1300 applications and 45 thousand professionals. During the festival, filmmakers, journalists and fans from around the world poured into Cannes, less than 20 square kilometers in size, bringing the temporary population of the coastal town to 200,000. Film Festival promotes the development of the world’s art and cultural exchanges, while tapping the cultural and economic potential of the festival’s host areas.

In terms of culture, film festival provides a realistic field and a virtual field for the city. The real field is the cultural activities that carry the festival. The convergence effect of Film Festival has helped film talents to improve their attention. It is related to film festivals during a few weeks to a few months of film festivals. The forum, exhibition and promotion activities enhance the cultural diversity of the city.

If the city itself is the beneficiary of the film festival providing the real field for the city, then the virtual field provides an abstract public space for the citizens. Whether it is Shanghai International Film Festival or Beijing International Film Festival, it is often difficult to get one ticket. Through film festivals, the audience’s spiritual needs and expressive desires are satisfied in the film, which helps shaping the city’s humanistic temperament.

The virtual field of the festival not only exists at the time of the festival, but also reflects the promotion of people’s sense of identity and cultural confidence in the city.


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