Coinciding with the realization of Ventana Sur, the most important market for audiovisual content in Latin America, organized by the National Institute of Cinema and Audiovisual Arts (Incaa) and the Marché du Film – Cannes Festival, and the Cannes Week at the Gaumont room in the city of Buenos Aires, the visit of Thierry fremaux, general director of the Cannes Film Festival, is already a classic at the end of the year. Daily Today He spoke exclusively with him to find out more details about his work and relationship with the cinema.
“What is your first memory of the world of cinema?”
—My father had a movie theater, there I saw Snow White, by Disney, and also a western by John Ford on an amateur screen, with a 16-millimeter projector, The Stagecoach. After loving the cinema it was natural, every child loves the cinema, but in adolescence it was different, I was practicing judo, which in fact last year I wrote a book. Judo was my passion as a teenager, but little by little the cinema returned, and at 17 or 18 I knew that it was what I was going to do in my life.
“Did you know what you wanted to do at the movies?”
—No, I didn’t know, but I was reading and in fact my first Cannes Film Festival was in 1979, I drove from Lyon to Cannes, and I didn’t see movies, I didn’t know how to do it, but I was there, on La Croisette. It all had to do with cinema, and I started as a volunteer at the Lumiere Institute, when Bernard Taverniere announced his creation, he was there, because in Lyon he was always present when there were things for the cinema. I asked Bertrand if he could join me, he said yes, of course. For me to work as a volunteer and then with a salary was to work in the cinema, carrying 35-millimeter cans, cutting tickets, I did not dream of being in charge of the Lumiere Institute and preserving its legacy, much less being in front of Cannes, but it is the same spirit.
—Do you feel more pressure every year in your work?
—No, because, firstly, I am not alone, there is Pierre Lescure, the president, and a fantastic team of people, the only pressure I have is artistic. Of course there is organization, security, the way for people to feel good, a Film Festival is a living, human spectacle, and my concerns have to do with whether or not we did well in choosing such a film, if a film is Well received and I am happy, and if not, I am not happy, although it happens that perhaps it is not well received at Cannes and then months later.
It is a collective work, it is not only the people in charge of the organization, it is the result of everyone, the people of Cannes, the professionals, the people, the market. For example, this is seen in the joy at the end of a projection, the acclaim for a work, it is incredible, it is like a soccer game.
—When they stand and cheer for a long time, for you, is it like scoring a goal?
—Of course, it is like victory, and we also know that this work is not for our own glory, Cannes serves for the cinema, for directors, directors, producers, producers, we keep that in mind, and now I write books to express myself, because When you do Cannes you have to admire and have intact the passion to serve films or to think that cinema is an important thing in the life of everyone in the world, and that needs energy, a capacity for admiration.
“Does this capacity to admire continue?”
—Yes, and above all because I have the Lumière Institute with classical cinema. Coming here on the plane I see classic movies, that’s important, it’s like a literature critic who reads current things, but they have to go back to Shakespeare or Proust.
About popular cinema and series
One would think that Thierry Frémaux only watches auteur cinema, classics and never a “pochoclera” film, but he doesn’t.
“Don’t you have itching to see popular movies?”
—No, for me Tom Cruise is a very important man in the history of cinema within his own category, beyond that later he makes secret appearances with Ben Stiller or Paul Thomas Anderson, to show that his job is to be an actor, but the Tom Cruise movies, Mission Impossible, are good movies.
—And in fact, in a pandemic, he defended the cinema by making the last installment …
—Sure, and I’m interested in Bollywood cinema, in India, because there is an alchemy within their films that is really part of the history of cinema, the French cinema of the 30s, aesthetic, art, but very popular, or the New Hollywood in the 70s, or the films of Pino Solanas, all that is important, cinema is like that, we could say that cinema is more important than other arts because it is in contact with reality. Cinema on television is something else, where you zap after 15 minutes.
—At first Cannes debated platforms yes or no, now we see how this has now been replaced by series …
—The series of course people watch at home, but like football, there are other things than going to the movies, but the most important event is the appearance of the platforms, and also of the series, which is not something new, but it is something that emerged in the 50s with television, and they use the art of cinema, dialogue with animated images, responding to the need for fiction that each one has, that is why we have to educate the youth that the Cinematographic art is something else.
—Besides that today filmmakers, filmmakers and performers go to the series …
—Because cinema is great, why are they going to use cinema people if not, because mythology belongs to the cinema, which invented it.
Cinema, critics and algorithms
“What movies should a film critic see?”
—It is difficult because cinema is more than 125 years old, and in literature or painting, it is three centuries where everything was built, and the history of cinema, then, must be taken by periods, silent, classic, sound, American, etc. films. , and it is difficult to compare … I can mention many titles and make a very long list, but everyone knows who they are. In the history of art the great authors are great. If you heard in your youth that Ford, Bergman, Fellini, Godard, Renoir or Godard are great directors, it is true, they are great directors. I have several platforms to see the classics, but I have thousands of DVDs to make my own journey, my own history of cinema.
—Without algorithms …
—It’s that the algorithm is different, not because I love this type of cinema is that I am going to love such another type of cinema, I like to love two completely different types of cinema.