The prestigious Cannes Film Festival has earned a reputation for being the place where people come to boo movies.
That’s not an exaggeration or a joke.
Every single year there are reports of movies, actors, and directors being roundly mocked and heckled.
This year victim Ryan Reynolds was so embarrassed by the treatment of his film The Captive that he reportedly skipped an after party for the cast.
Here’s the kicker: Not all the movies booed are terrible. In fact, some movies go on to be hits or even classics.
There was one Martin Scorsese film starring Robert DeNiro that was loathed by the Cannes audience but is today quoted by practically everyone and their brother.
It is a film that went on to be nominated for Four Academy Awards and is considered one of the best movies ever made. Here’s a trailer for that movie:
Though Taxi Driver received the festival’s Palme d’Or award, the selection of the movie for the honor was booed by attendants at the time.
Some movies are booed for being bad, but many agree that the hyper criticism of films and awful heckling often goes above and beyond what the actual film deserves.
Despite some people booing this film at Cannes, it is on my "Top Films Of 2013" list. https://t.co/s3tmvbdo7U pic.twitter.com/fW25uKmA9Z
— Joe Friar (@joefriar) July 25, 2013
So what gives?
Don Steinberg wrote in his Wall Street Journal article titled Why They Love To Boo At The Cannes Film Festival that “the French are passionate about film” and that “disagreeing with the Cannes jury is an ongoing form of French Resistance”.
I suppose that’s a polite way of saying the attendants are rude and obnoxious because it’s fashionable to be so and that the entire festival is a tribute to pretentiousness.
Cannes is the only film festival where you hear about people booing in the audience.
— Dorothy Pomerantz (@DorothyAtForbes) May 20, 2014
booing is so unclassy. the worst thing about cannes. the meanest reaction you get at TIFF is just tepid applause.
— look at my muscles (@_ryangosling) May 20, 2014
it is me or is Cannes just becoming more and more of a parody of itself? Movies slammed and booed? I have never understood booing a movie
— Carley Tauchert (@carleytauchert) May 16, 2014
For all the fuss and fanfare, Cannes continues to court a reputation based on a love of tearing down cinema as the ultimate form of appreciating it.
It sounds like the attendants wouldn’t have it any other way.
Image via Wikimedia Commons