Looking for the best books about Cannes Film Festival?
Cannes film festival is one of the most iconic events throughout the years in the whole world.
Furthermore, the Cannes film festival is considered to be one of the most prestigious events comparable to the Oscar’s. The event is so well-respected that winning the Palme d’Or price is considered to be one of the most prestigious, if not the most prestigious awards you can win as a film director.
Every year, the Cannes Film Festival attracts an enormous number of people of all types, from producers to film-makers, to directors, actors, actresses, and much more. The event and these individuals thus bring an enormous amount of press towards the city of Cannes, and throughout the years, it has had a huge importance in establishing the reputation of Cannes in the world.
Many people argue that the Cannes Film Festival has played such an important role for Cannes, that without it, Cannes wouldn’t have the reputation of glitz, glamour, and luxury that it has today, nor would it welcome as many tourists that it does every year.
Considering the fact that the event first took place in 1946, since then, many books about the Cannes Film Festival have been written.
Some books about the Cannes film festival have been written by famous and well-regarded writers, others by less known individuals. In fact, one of the books about Cannes film festival has been written by Gilles Jacob himself, the former Cannes Festival President, and what better person to give the most insights into the iconic Cannes Film Festival than the president himself?
Whether you want to read books about Cannes film festival to learn more about the event, experience how it has evolved throughout the years, or want to know which of the top celebrities have been here, in this article, we’ve compiled a list of the top books about Cannes Film Festival for you to read.
Top books about Cannes film festival you should read
1.”La Vie Passera Comme un Rêve” by Gilles Jacob, in English, Life Will Pass Like a Dream
Gilles Jacob is one of the most iconic and important people of the Cannes Film Festival and has played a significant role in the evolution of the festival.
Gilles Jacob is truly an icon in the French world of cinema and is considered to be the top icon at the event. Gilles Jacob has written two books, both of which are listed here, and both partly or almost entirely focused on the Cannes Film Festival. This is, of course, something that isn’t very surprising as the film festival has played such an important role in his life.
This is one of the two books about the Cannes film festival written by Gilles Jacob, and this book is is his Cannes autobiography. In the book, he talks partly about powerful memories of events during the Cannes Film Festival throughout the years, and since this is one of the very few books about Cannes Film Festival was written by a person with full insights into the event, it gives you information and insights that you will have a hard time getting from somewhere else.
2. Cannes: Fifty Years of Sun, Sex, And Celluloid by Peter Bart
This is one of the books about the Cannes Film festival that you just have to read.
As the name partly suggests, this book about Cannes Film Festival talks about the history of the festival, as well as the important role that it will continue to play in the future.
In the book, it is emphasized that while many people complain the parties were cooler back in the days, and the movies were better, the film festival will still continue to play a significant role in the future. The book talks about the important role that the festival has had in building a bridge between indigenous film cultures throughout its history, while it also means that this is something that is needed more today than ever before.
In the book about the Cannes film festival, you get to read that today’s American generation is more oblivious to European and Asian cinema since World War II.
Accordingly, the commerce of film is more dependent than ever on the global distribution platforms which are, today, owned by multinational entertainment corporations.
At the Cannes Film Festival, a different platform that fosters the culture of cinema and commerce is represented. This means that the festival has a huge power in the future to internationalize this film culture that the book talks about and breed a new language of filmmaking. New multiplexes are spreading across Europe and Asia, and as this is happening, new distribution opportunities open up for indigenous cinema, and this is something that is emphasized in the book.
The hegemony of Hollywood movies are met with competition from local filmmakers, and especially in the U.S, the people who go to watch films is getting older, more sophisticated and more open to new filmmaking experiences.
The Oscar nominations have been more hospitable toward overseas filmmaking achievements and in acknowledging overseas filmmaking, and Cannes can continue to develop, impact, and energize these developments.
While it’s easy to romanticize the past and say that everything was better in the past, including the Cannes film festival, the books talk about the importance of the Cannes Film Festival and how its importance in society will continue to expand, with its message becoming more important, relevant, and impactful.
3. King of Cannes: A Journey Into the Underbelly of the Movies by Stephen Walker (1999)
This is one of the books about the Cannes film festival which uses humor and jokes and yet another book that is written by an insightful person at the Cannes Film Festival.
It’s an engaging and funny book that has been written by the writer and maker of documentaries Stephen Walker. In the book about the Cannes Film Festival, you get to read about his very own experiences at the 1998 festival. The book almost works like a guide of what is going on at the event and is a great insights guide for if you have a hard time getting an invitation to the event yourself, as it allows you to live it through the eyes of someone else.
In the book, you get to follow him as he follows the director Erick Zonca who was in contention for The Dream Life of Angels. He also follows a group of other weird individuals who are hoping to succeed in the commercial market section, happening alongside the main festival and more.
The book has its roots in the fact that Stephen Walker went out hunting for four young, untried, obsessive film-makers who were striving for fame and glory at the Cannes Film Festival.
Over the period of six months, Walker met hundreds of film-makers from all over the world over the world, and his book is like his funny account of those six months takes the readers through a rollercoaster ride of attending one of the most iconic film festivals in the world.
4. Super-Cannes by JG Ballard (2000)
This book about the Cannes Film Festival is often seen as a companion piece to the novel Cocaine Nights also written by JG Ballard.
In the book, there’s a futuristic business park built in the hills above Cannes. This park has been secretly designed in rage, anarchy, and despair, and in the novel, there are certain remarks about the festival as well as the and the Palais building, the building in which the Cannes Film Festival is held and which was opened in 1983.
The book presents s a new way of looking at the rackety side of Cannes, which means the rehearsed serious and trashy paradox, and seamy side of the business.
This is one of the books about the Cannes Film Festival which isn’t directly focused on solely the Cannes Film Festival, but more so takes place in the city of Cannes, and where you stumble upon the Film Festival in the book every now and then.
5. Cannes Confidential: A Gatecrasher’s Guide to the World’s Most Famous Film festival by John B. McGrath
This interesting book about the Cannes Film Festival is written by John McGrath who is a restaurateur turned executive chef, author, and active film critic who has reported for radio, television, and more.
This is one of the books about the Cannes Film Festival that is especially interesting since it is written by a man with great insight into the festival.
John has attended seven Cannes Film Festivals, and this book is all about it. In the book, you get to read and learn everything about this festival, making this book the ultimate book about Cannes Film Festival if you want to educate yourself about the legendary festival.
The is no other book available that provides such a detailed and insightful look into what goes on behind the curtains and facade of the Film Festival, and this makes this book a must-read for everyone.
It talks about the Riviera, the glitz, the glamour, the sleaze, the lifestyles of the attendees, and the rich and famous. Once you’ve read it, you’ll get an incredible insight into the festival and what goes on both on the carpet as well as behind the curtains.
6. Cannes: A Festival Virgin’s Guide: Attending the Cannes Film Festival for Filmmakers and Film Industry Professionals by Craig Benjamin
This is one of the more helpful books about the Cannes Film festival that is more practical than any of the others. It is more of a handbook than anything else, which means more practical information about the iconic festival.
Cannes Film Festival is the world’s most famous film festival, attracting more than 200,000 people from across the globe every year. During the period of the festival, it’s all about glamour and luxury, camera flashes, red carpets, parties, and living the life of a rock star.
The book ”A Festival Virgin’s Guide” is exactly what the title suggests – a guide to first-timers at the Cannes Film Festival. It is mainly a handbook for filmmakers and film industry professionals who are looking to attend the Cannes Film Festival for the first time, but it may very well be interesting for people who have never visited or never plan to visit as well as it brings a greater insight into the event and demystifies the event, providing practical advice for attending.
The purpose of this book about the Cannes Film Festival is to help people who are going to attend make the most of their visit to the film festival.
The practical advice in the book goes through (among much more):
- The city: including getting to Cannes, how you get around in the best way possible, places to eat, etc.
- The Festival: The history of the Cannes Film Festival, how to attend the festival, the screenings, how it works, and more.
- The business: A special focus on the business of the festival, in other words how filmmakers and other people in the industry can leverage the festival to create opportunities.
7. Hollywood on the Riviera: The Inside Story of the Cannes Film Festival by Cari Beauchamp and Henri Béhar
This book includes interviews with more than one hundred insiders of Cannes and its iconic Cannes Film Festival, and through that, it is one of the books about the Cannes Film Festival which provides you with a great, detailed insight into the Cannes Film Festival and what it is about. The interviews in this book are made with all types of celebrities and personalities, from Arnold Schwarzenegger to Grace Kelly.
8. Splendour and Squalor by Marcus Scriven (2009)
The travel writer and journalist Marcus Scriven wrote this book in 2009. It focuses on some of the lively accounts of the aristocrats who loved Cannes, and lived there partly or had come here, fallen in love, and settled here. It focuses on Cannes which was “discovered” as a playground for the wealthy classes by Lord Brougham in 1834, and thus emphasizes, in particular, the aristocracy, and thus also the activities and lives they had in Cannes – something that of course includes the Cannes Film Festival.
9. Cannes: Inside the World’s Premier Film Festival by Kieron Corless and Chris Darke (2007)
This book about Cannes is considered to be among the best and most serious books about the recent history of Cannes.
Since the film festival has had such a huge influence on Cannes, it can also be viewed as one of the most serious and best books about the Cannes Film Festival.
The book focuses on the history of the festival for the auteur film-makers who were once celebrated at Cannes, but are now neglected and forgotten. Furthermore, the book also brings up the different faces and sides of the film festival. It is known to be glamorous, exclusive, and the home for many world premiers, however, it is also famous for scandals and controversies. This includes events where nations have clashed, as well as individuals.
The history reveals the best and most revelatory tales from the history of the iconic festival, and it does this through the eyes, words, and previously untold first-hand accounts from key players of the event.
10. Riviera: A Novel about the Cannes Film Festival by Robert S. Hopkins
This is a book with a captivating and interesting story about the death of the world-famous filmmaker Pedro Lehman which takes place only days before the beginning of the Cannes Film Festival launches. This leads to a chain of events taking place, which leaves a great significant impact.
A young studio head by the name of Teddy Kendrick plans a breakaway company of his own if he succeeds in pulling the final pieces at Cannes.
Rod Donner is known for rough and tough action films but is now struggling with alcohol and a bad temper, however, he sees a bright window of chance for the movie role that could bring him to the top again.
The book was published in 1980, so it is quite old, and definitely hard to get a hold of.
11. Two Weeks in the Midday Sun: A Cannes Notebook by Roger Ebert (1988)
This interesting book about the iconic Cannes Film Festival is written by Roger Ebert. The book is an amiable, conversational memoir of an agreeable sojourn in the south of France.
Ebert is a critic, and the book is written from his own journal of the Cannes Film Festival when he attended.
While the other books about the Cannes Film Festival which gave an insight into how the event is, this is something special and unique.
This book includes lots of delicious information and juicy details about what is happening behind the scenes of the event, from gossip, personalities, and celebrities with strange lifestyles, crazy people, and other interesting things about the film festival.
The book is focused on the 1987 festival, which was the 40th anniversary because that’s when the book was written. However, the book also includes Ebert’s adventures at previous film festivals since the author of the book has attended the event 12 times.
The book is illustrated by Ebert as well, but people say that he isn’t the best artist.
Definitely one of the books about the Cannes Film Festival that is worth reading!
12. Cannes: The Novel by Iain Johnstone (1991)
A book that presents the Cannes film festival in a weird light. It is written by the critic and author Iain Johnstone wrote the book with was, at the time it was released, considered a tongue-in-cheek futurist nightmare. The book takes place in 1997, and it is the evening of Hong Kong’s return to mainland China. At the same time, the 50th Cannes Film Festival takes place.
With plenty of celebrities lining up, a huge star and celebrity is kidnapped at the Festival and is held to ransom by Triad terrorists. A very interesting and engaging story of the Cannes Film Festival.
13. The Lumiere Affair: A Novel of Cannes by Sara Voorhees (2009)
This is undoubtedly one of the most interesting books about the Cannes film festival.
It is focused on a woman by the name of Natalie Conway.
Desperate to revive her struggling career, and passionate about movies, glamour, and tradition, she should be excited to go to the place where she can find all of that she is passionate about. Cannes, and the iconic Cannes Film Festival.
The film festival, the perfect opportunity for people trying to make it in the film industry, but she isn’t excited. The problem for Nathalie is that Cannes is situated in France, and going to France would mean that she would face memories of her brief childhood in Paris and the tragic accident that killed her mother and then forced her mother’s lover to ship her to the desert of New Mexiko to live with a father she had never met. As such, France has become Nathalie’s worst personal nightmare, however, with a struggling career, and with the bank foreclosing on her house in Los Angeles, she has no other choice than to face her nightmare.
As she gets to Paris, she is hit by the force of a mistral wind, forgotten sights, fragrances, and the sounds of her native language, and slowly, hazy recollections of her mother and Claudel start appearing.
Followingly, she heads to Cannes and the film festival, and meet with all that the festival has to offer. Eventually, Nathalie discovers a mysterious link between her mother and a French director named Jacques Vidanne, and she then turns to the only man she can trust, carrying questions that are too painful to answer.
Used to digging into the lives of movie stars, Nathalie eventually realizes that digging into her own life may threaten her very own reality. Therefore, she must make a choice: should she move forward or remain in the shadow of her past.
This is one of the books about the Cannes Film Festival which provides interesting and juicy details about the festival as it is written by a seasoned celebrity journalist who has experienced the event and has insights into it.
It mixes interesting facts of reality, with a charming story of a woman’s journey of finding herself.
14. Resurrection in Cannes: The Making of The Picasso Summer by Wes Herschensohn (1979)
This book is written by Herschensohn, the man who worked on the now not-so remembered Albert Finney movie The Picasso Summer.
In the book, you get to read about the history of how he personally journeyed to the south of France, with the mission of meeting Picasso himself and enlist his help in inducing Warner Brothers to make the film.
15. Cannes Cinema by Serge Toubiana
This is a book about the Cannes Film Festival which is a photo album containing photos from the very first event in 1939 up until the present day. It is a must-have book as it gives you a more in-depth insight into the history of the Film festival since a picture says more than a thousand words.
Three generations of photographers from the Traverso family having photographed the most beautiful and well-known film stars, and their photos document the history of the festival. By photographing, they have documented the history of the iconic Cannes Film Festival.
16. Hype and Glory by William Goldman (1990)
William Goldman, a renowned Hollywood screenwriter gives his account of being the only person to have judged the Cannes film festival and the Miss America pageant in the same year, which took place in the year of 1988.
It is a combination which he accepted as a distraction from the heartbreak of divorce
The book has many autobiographical flashbacks, but most importantly, startling touches. In the book, the author claims that he has literally screamed with delight in the final moments of the eventual Palme d’Or winner, Bille August’s Pelle the Conqueror.
There are many other interesting insights into the iconic Cannes film festival, but most interestingly from a man with insights, what it is like to serve on an international jury and be one of the top players.