Why do we award a Palme d’Or to the winners of the Cannes Film Festival?

Why do we award a Palme d’Or to the winners of the Cannes Film Festival?
Why do we award a Palme d’Or to the winners of the Cannes Film Festival?

Saturday May 25, the Cannes Film Festival crowned the film Anora, who received the Palme d’Or. This has been awarded since 1955, because previously the big winner of the Cannes Film Festival left with a simple paper diploma and as a gift a work by a contemporary artist, different each year.

Jean Cocteau, president of the jury in 1954, suggested create a specific trophy for the Cannes Film Festival: a palme d’or. This creation is entrusted to a woman, the feminist goldsmith, Lucienne Lazon. The palm is a nod to the palm trees on the Croisette, but also because the palm among the Greeks and the Romans was the badge of victory.

Among later Christians, it represents Jesus’ victory over death which leads to his resurrection. There is uanother reason linked to the history of Cannes, whose coat of arms is a blue background with two fleur-de-lys, but also a silver palm, which is a reference to a local legend.

In the 5th century AD, Honorat, archbishop of Arles, in search of solitude and contemplation, settled in the bay of Cannes, on one of the Lérins islands. Except that he discovers when he arrives that it is infested with snakes. He implores God to exterminate them. What happens. Except that the corpses of the reptiles are so numerous that the air is fetid and unbreathable.

A palm redesigned in 1998

Honorat prays to the Lord again to resolve the problem. The latter then told the religious to climb to the top of a palm tree. And there God triggers a storm, the sea floods the island before retreating, taking with it the dead snakes. Honorat can settle down and build an abbey. In the 10th century, Cannes was attached to the Lérins islands, the palm, a reference to the legend of Honorat, then appears on its coat of arms.

For its part, the Palme d’Or was redesigned in 1998. It is now made by Chopard, entirely by hand. Each one is unique and has a value estimated at 20,000 euros. There is not one Palme d’Or, but two. An emergency Palme is provided in the event of a material problem, also in the event that the jury awards a Palme d’Or ex-aequo. This has happened eight times in the history of the Festival which had not planned for 2013!

In 2013, the jury chaired by Steven Spielberg awarded the Palme d’Or to the film The Life of Adele by Abdellatif Kechiche. But he also wants to give the female performance prize to the two actresses in the film, Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos.

Since 2003, the rules have been clear: a film that receives the Palme d’Or cannot win any other prize. To get around this rulethe jury also awarded the Palme d’Or to the two actresses. So three are needed to be presented during the ceremony. Result, Abdellatif Kechiche has his and, by the time the missing one is made, to avoid making anyone jealous, the two actresses have theirs. But in February 2014!

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