Cannes unveils poster for 70th edition

Claudia Cardinale takes twirl for platinum anniversary.

by Richard Mowe

The official Cannes 70th edition poster, featuring Claudia Cardinale
The official Cannes 70th edition poster, featuring Claudia Cardinale Photo: © Bronx (Paris). Photo : Claudia Cardinale © Archivio Cameraphoto Epoche/Getty Images
Italian acting legend Claudia Cardinale is featured on the official poster for the 70th edition of the Cannes Film Festival, which has just been revealed by the organisers.

The image shows Cardinale in her Fifties hey day twirling and dancing against a deep red background with gold lettering.

Cardinale, who has said she feels more French than Italian and lives in Paris, had her family roots in Sicily. Of the poster, she says: "I am honoured and proud to be flying the flag for the 70th Festival de Cannes, and delighted with this choice of photo.

Claudia Cardinale as she appeared in Valerio Zurlini’s The Girl With The Suitcase in 1960
Claudia Cardinale as she appeared in Valerio Zurlini’s The Girl With The Suitcase in 1960 Photo: Film Italia
"It’s the image I myself have of the Festival, of an event that illuminates everything around. That dance on the rooftops of Rome was back in 1959. No one remembers the photographer’s name… I’ve also forgotten it. But this photo reminds me of my origins, and of a time when I never dreamed of climbing the steps of the world’s most famous cinema hall. Happy anniversary!”

Cardinale, 78, has been a frequent Cannes visitor over the decades. She once told me that she is not a fan of today’s reality cinema. She said: "Once when you left the cinema you had the images in your mind for a long time. You talked about it, the setting, the dialogue, and the story. Even our neo-realists like Vittorio De Sica gave reality a poetical edge. Too often now you come out, and look around and it is exactly what you saw on the screen. In many ways the cinema has forgotten how to dream."

Her passport to the world of cinema was winning the Most Beautiful Girl in Tunis contest in 1957, which included as part of the prize a trip to the Venice Film Festival. She attracted a flurry of attention. Even such sober minds as the literary icon Alberto Moravia were describing her as the next "goddess of love" in an interview with Variety. Shortly thereafter, Italy's finest directors were queuing up to cast her: Pier Paolo Pasolini chose her for Il Bell' Antonio; Visconti offered Rocco And His Brothers and The Leopard, in which she danced so memorably with Burt Lancaster, and Federico Fellini gave her Eight And A Half.

She has only good memories of her screen partners - or perhaps it's the discretion of maturity. She was only 22 when she had "the time of my life" with John Wayne and Rita Hayworth as her costars in The Magnificent Showman, a western meets the circus. Wayne presented her with his chair from John Ford and his coffee cup labelled The Duke. They are among her prized possessions.

Claudia Cardinale: 'I am honoured and proud to be flying the flag for the 70th Festival de Cannes'
Claudia Cardinale: 'I am honoured and proud to be flying the flag for the 70th Festival de Cannes' Photo: Richard Mowe
When she joined Sergio Leone for his masterwork western Once Upon A Time In The West she found that her land baronness had to do a love scene with Fonda's cold-blooded gunslinger. "Leone played you [Ennio] Morricone's music on the set to put you in the mood. Suddenly he had this idea for a love scene with Fonda, who had never done that sort of thing before. I wasn't prepared for it. Then I spotted his wife sitting by the camera glaring at us. It was those. No matter - I like a director who is demanding. I hate people who are happy the whole time. When it seems easy, I don't like it."

Her leading men have included Marcello Mastroianni, Peter Finch, Anthony Quinn, Alain Delon, Henry Fonda, David Niven, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Burt Lancaster, Lee Marvin, Rock Hudson, Tony Curtis and Sean Connery. She describes Connery - with whom she worked on The Red Tent by the Russian director Mikhail Kalatoznov and based around an abortive Arctic expedition - as a as a consummate professional. "He was so easy to work with. The weather was freezing cold, so every morning he served up a shot of vodka instead of coffee.”

The poster was designed by Bronx agency in Paris with Philippe Savoir of Filifox creating the image's visual identity.

As previously announced, Pedro Almodovar will preside over this year's Festival jury, and Italian-French actress Monica Bellucci will serve as master of ceremonies. The full competition lineup will be announced April 13.

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