Films of Norway reports from the Cannes Film Festival

Glamour and excitement on the French Riviera

Cannes
The Palais des Festivals et des Congrès is home to the Cannes Film Festival on the French Riviera.

GEIR MÆLAND
Films of Norway

It is said that if you have enough time and money, then there are so many movie festivals around the world that you can fill an entire calendar year with them. One festival replaces the other, so you only need to sign up and travel the world.

That said, the Cannes Film Festival in the south of France is probably the most glamorous.

This year, I was extra excited to attend since it had been a few years since I last participated in person.

Getting there

Planning is important, in regard to transportation, accommodations, who to arrange meetings with, and which films to see. It’s a very popular and glamorous affair.

But for my part, this year’s festival did not start exactly glamorously.

The day before departure, I was contacted by the airline and learned that my connecting flight from Amsterdam to Nice, France, had been canceled. I live in Stavanger, Norway, and the departure from Stavanger to Amsterdam was supposed to go as planned, but then there was an abrupt stop. The message from the airline ended with: “How do you intend to solve this?”

I will not bore you readers with all the back-and-forth-issues, but rather stop here and announce that the solution was that there was an extra stopover in Munich, where I connected to the final flight to Nice.

This “extra trip” meant that I first arrived in Cannes at 1 a.m., but that was fine, because I had agreed that the rental operator would put the key to the rented apartment in a safety box outside his office, so that I could pick it up whenever I wanted after closing time.

I picked up the keys and found the apartment complex where I was going to stay.

There was a sudden stop because the magnetic gadget that was to open the main door did not work, and I did not have access to the building. So, I was locked out, with luggage and all.

It was dark there, outside the center of Cannes in Palm Beach area in the middle of the night. It was a long night before I could finally get into my apartment.

Norwegian films

My main focus at film festivals is Norwegian films. I find out which films are presented, who the Norwegian participants are, and what international interest in the Norwegian productions is.

Initially, relatively few Norwegian films were shown at the Cannes Film Festival this year. The romantic fantasy Three Wishes for Cinderella (original title: Tre nøtter til Askepott) was the one, and I will be reviewing it in a subsequent issue. The comedy Sick of Myself (original title: Syk pike), and Titina, an animated cartoon, were the big Norwegian films featured.

This year, the Norwegian Film Institute (NFI) had found a new location in Cannes opposite the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, and it seemed to work well to be with the film institutes from Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Iceland. The five Nordic countries had given their new locale the resounding name Scandinavian House.

scandinavian house
The five Nordic countries—Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, and Finland—share a location at the “Scandinavian House.”
tre nøtter til askepott
The romantic fantasy Three Wishes for Cinderella (Tre nøtter til Askepott) was Norway’s top entry at the Cannes Film Festival this year.

Also present in Cannes was Norwegian Film Distribution (norwegianfilmdistribution.com), which is the sales agent for a number of catalog titles (feature films, documentaries, TV series, and short films), was also present and held sales meetings with potential buyers with representatives of cinemas, television, and streaming companies.

The general trend and impression from the 2022 Cannes Film Festival was that the people of the film world were very happy to be able to meet physically again instead of via a digital screen. This industry is about people, networks, and trust. Trust is difficult to maintain via digital screens; it can require a handshake, a friendly look, or even a hug. This goes for Norwegians and non-Norwegians alike.

Industry people are now positive, happy, and excited, not only to see each other again, but also because it may look like it will soon be “back to business” again. The movie theaters are opening up again, new movies are coming out, and it “looks bright in all channels,” to use a TV expression.

Top film

In conclusion, I will reveal what the festival’s big “talking kiss” was.

Unfortunately, it was not a Norwegian film but an American production that you have all heard of, namely, Tom Cruise’s Top Gun: Maverick. 

One of the reasons why it became the talk of the town was, of course, that it was the sequel a top film classic, but the fact that they arranged a low flyover of French fighters planes over the festival palace timed to the second was simply overwhelming. And while the visual experience was exciting enough, the sound of the fighter jets was so loud that no one in Cannes could avoid taking notice, but not everyone knew that it was an advertising stunt for Top Gun.

Alas, after a week at the exciting and glamorous Cannes Film Festival, it was wonderful to come home to our dear little country up in the north. Fortunately, the journey home was quite ordinary and far less dramatic than the one going there.

At that, I will have to say, “Takk for meg”—thank you, Cannes. I’m already looking forward to next year.

mæland
Geir Mæland of Films of Norway sits down to do some work during the film festival in Cannes.

This article originally appeared in the July 8, 2022, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

Geir Mæland

Geir Mæland is the founder and manager of Films of Norway, a Norwegian film-streaming service based in Stavanger, Norway.

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