Festival de Cannes 70: François Truffaut, 1959

A sunny shout-out to 70 winners at the Cannes Film Festival to celebrate the 70th event which is just around the corner – in no particular order.

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At the 1958 Cannes Film Festival the then universally unknown French film-maker François Truffaut was nowhere to be seen. The truth is, he was not allowed to attend that year as a result of him verbally lashing out at the competition as an institution. I won’t say he had the last laugh, as it didn’t really end there, but the very next year his debut feature film Les quatre cents coups (The 400 Blows) won over audiences at Cannes – as well as rewarding Truffaut with the Best Director prize. Film politics are fickle, always have been, but what a victory for cinema that was. French cinema catapulted as a result, Truffaut’s immediate success (and story credit) paved the way for native big mouth Jean-Luc Godard’s very first film, À bout de souffle (Breathless) – I don’t believe many people reading this were not at all aware that the French New Wave had arrived in 1959.

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