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The Queer Palm Award has been long in coming

The Queer Palm Award has been long in coming

The 2017 Cannes Film Festival concluded on the 28th of May in Cannes, France.


Today, we would like to talk with you again about this film festival. Instead of the 70the anniversary of Cannes, we will talk about the film festival’s Queer Palm Award, which has only enjoyed seven years of history..


Why is this award created? Why did it take so long for its inception to take place? Did you know some well-known films such as CarolLa vie d’Adèle, and Laurence Anyways were once the favorites of the Queer Palm? 


At this year’s Cannes, Shanghai Queer Film Festival invited three professional film critics to discuss their own thoughts on queer films.

Berlin International Film Festival’s Teddy Award was founded in 1987; Venice Film Festival’s Queer Lion was awarded from 2007 and Cannes Film Festival’s Queer Palm Award was founded in 2010. As unofficial units, these three awards are presented respectively during those film festivals and independent from them.

About the recent hit Cannes Film Festival, we would like to talk with you in regard to its special unit, Queer Palm.

First, the Cannes Film Festival is pretending to be a ‘left’ rightist. On the official website of Berlin’s Teddy Award, we still can see the introduction such as “The TEDDY AWARD has with this not only cultural importance…also carries a political significance and responsibility”. In addition, the ‘left’ feature of Berlin International Film Festival’s can be seen through its film festival system. In Berlin International Film Festival and Venice Film Festival, no ranks of Press IDs are set. Nevertheless, in Cannes Film Festival, no matter market badges or press badges are strictly stratified and distinguished. Consequently, the late appearance of queer award on such a right-wing film festival as Cannes Film Festival is seemingly backed up by evidence.



Secondly, along with the other two internatioanl queer awards, the Queer Palm is not an official unit.On the one hand, it is not an officially sponsored prize; on the other hand, they have no chances to be watched as other entered films by the members of the official film selection committee before the award, which cause the problem that sometimes nominated films turn out to be non queer-related films. Nominated feature films of Queer Palm glean from among those films entered under the Cannes Film Festival’s Competition, A Certain Regard, Special Screenings, The Directors’ Fortnight, International Critics’ Week and ACID section. Meanwhile, nominated short films are choosen from the films entered under Short Films and Short Film Corner. Although they are selected from various sections, in fact, any films seemingly associated with queer can be shortlisted. As a result, in the last two Cannes Film Festivals, there can be seen films that contain feminism yet can not be called as queer film, for instance, Aquarius in 2016 and Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts this year.



An unofficial identity also means that juries are not prioritized to watch those films. Most of the juries are movie critics and official organization personnels of other queer film festivals. This information is important since it signifies that someone who is editing this article and some colleagues of Shanghai Queer Film Festival may be one of the juries of the Queer Palm Award.

Except the above-mentioned Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts, other Queer Palm nominations of this year include transgender themed Coby and They, drag themed Nos années folles and Nothingwood, non queer-related How to Talk to Girls at Parties, directed by a queer director and the 2017 Grand Prix’s winner 120 battements par minutes, which is the Golden Palm in the President of Jury Pedro Almodovar’s mind.



Among those nominated films, Nos années folles concerns a straight guy André Téchiné’s crossdress habit. Afghan film Nothingwood may be a bit more complicated than this. One of the characters is the local famous female impersonator and his gay identity seems to be a self-evident fact in Afghan context. We just see his obvious aspect of femininity. In spite of the metaphor of queer, How to Talk to Girls at Parties itself in the screening section is not really queer-related. Among those films, only 120 battements par minutes is nominated in the main competition section, which means there is only one queer film within 19 nominated films in the main competition section. Interestingly, it happens frequently that one film can bring heated topics, for example, La vie d’Adèle in 2013 and Carol in 2015.


Hence, we have invited several film critics who watched those queer films at the scene of the Cannes Film Festival. In the next article, we will discuss queer films that appeared in recent Cannes Film Festivals together with them. 

Is the most high-profile queer film Carol seen as unfavorable by filmmakers?

Why is it to say 120 battements par minutes that shows extraordinary talents in this year’s Queer Palm is remarkable?

What do people expect when they are watching these queer films? Do they look for discussions about human relationships, reflections of real life, or emotional sustenance?……