“Films are born free and equal” –director Pierre Kast
In 1968, French society was living one of its most important moment…yet in Cannes that year, the festival took place “as usual,” until a group of angry filmmakers (among whom François Tuffaut and Jean-Luc Godard) fighting for the reintegration of Henry Langlois at the head of the French cinematheque interrupt the festival activities and started a forum about cinema, festivals, production and the need to change the world. This is when the Société des réalisateurs de films (Filmmakers’ Society) was born and decided to create its own program at the festival. The “Fortnight” was born, and was given its name by filmmaker and film critic Jacques Doniol-Valcroze. No competition, no censorship of any kind, no diplomacy, no limits in terms of format or genre.
The films of the first Quinzaine in 1969 included among others Glauber Rocha’s Barravento, Louis Malle’s Calcutta, Nagisa Oshima’s Death by Hanging, Bob Rafelson’s Head, and Philippe Garrel’s Le Lit de la vierge. The spirit of the Quinzaine is very well expressed by an anecdote told by its first programmer Pierre-Henri Deleau: “I remember once we had a four-hour film, and we thought no one would stay until the end. But it was Angelopoulos’ The Traveling Players: it got a standing ovation. At the back of the auditorium, there was this strange-looking man walking up and down in an almost military fashion, staring straight at Angelopoulos, who had his back to the stage. The man started to walk towards him and Angelopoulos began to get worried. Then he went down on his knees, kissed Angelopoulos’ feet and left without saying a word. It was Werner Herzog.”
- Marie-Pierre Duhamel Muller
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