The Cannes Film Festival – a Rendezvous with Culture and Glamour
For twelve days, from 13 to 24 May, producers, film-makers and film stars come together in the city of Cannes to compete for the coveted Palme d’Or. The Cannes Festival is one of the most prestigious cinema festivals in the world. That is why, year after year, it draws great stars from the world of cinema, while millions of film enthusiasts the world over await the awards ceremony with baited breath.
Under the presidency of Louis Lumière, regarded as the father of cinema, the festival was first inaugurated on 1 September 1939, fatefully just one day before the outbreak of World War Two, which led to its cancellation until it was reinstated in 1946. The idea of the festival was to rival the Venice Film Festival, the oldest in the world. It was a way of expressing displeasure over the fact that the Italians had excluded some French gems from their festival, in favour of certain titles of a political and nationalistic character.
Showcase of the Famous
While the festival itself is for professionals, Cannes is inundated with hoards of film enthusiasts and onlookers eager to get a glimpse of their idols. If you’d like to see them all together, you’ll have to stake out a viewing spot during the opening ceremony at the entrance to the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès. The moment of greatest expectation is when the stars ascend the famous red carpet of 24 steps, comparable to the Oscar award-winning ceremony in Hollywood.
How to Enjoy the Festival
The major screenings are held in the Palais des Festivals and, as we intimated, they are generally reserved for professionals. You can, however, opt to view the open-air screenings, which are free of charge, in the Cinéma de la Plage, located on Plage Macé, where a film is shown every night as part of a themed programme. During the festival, Cannes throngs with art and culture and activities are staged all over the place. A week before it opens, the Cannes Festival website will be publishing its 2015 Official Selection of activities, which include master classes or film cycles, among other things.
What to Do in Cannes?
Cannes is a privileged city, located in the very heart of the French Riviera and just 27 kilometres from Nice airport. It is surrounded by picturesque villages, including Le Cannet, La Roquette-Sur-Siagne, Mougins and Vallauris, while the idyllic beaches of the French Riviera lie south of the city.
Discover the Old Town – Le Suquet
Set a top a hill lies the oldest quarter in Cannes, Le Suquet, a maze of alleyways and stairways running between the Riviera’s typical Provençal houses. This is a good area for having a meal as it is packed with bistros and restaurants, and also features one of the best views over the bay, the harbour and the Lérins Islands.
The Promenade de la Croisette
The Promenade de la Croisette is a palm-tree-lined esplanade that stretches for three kilometres, from Casino Palm Beach to the Palais des Festivals. Next to the palace is a promenade with Hollywood-style fame for the over 400 handprints it bears of such film stars as Charlie Chaplin, Julie Andrews, Sylvester Stallone, Catherine Deneuve, Liza Minelli and Meryl Streep.
Take a Tour of its Paradisiacal Islands
The Lérins Islands lie within easy reach of Cannes harbour. They comprise an archipelago which lies opposite the city’s bay and are made up of four islands, of which only two – Île Sainte-Marguerite and Île Saint-Honorat – are inhabited. The first of these is the most visited, with its pleasant, forested areas. Here stands the Fort Royal, where the Man in the Iron Mask was once held prisoner for over ten years. The life of this mysterious character was the subject of a film by Leonardo di Caprio.
Surround Yourself with Luxury – Visit the Grand Villas of Cannes
Wrap yourself in luxury with a visit to the Villa Rothschild in the district of Croix des Gardes. The villa, in neoclassical style with magnificent gardens, was once home to Lord Brougham. His influence over the nobility of the period prompted other residences to be built, turning Cannes into the prosperous city it is today. Another one worth visiting is the Villa Domergue, designed by Jean-Gabriel Domergue and inspired by Venetian palaces. Its gardens are adorned with statues of the owner’s wife.
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On the trail of Corleone. Movie spots in Sicily
Movie tourism is a fun way to explore a city, discovering the places where some of our favorite scenes were filmed and where our favorite actors ever acted.
No one can deny the close relationship between Sicily and the cinema when 60 kilometers from Palermo, we come across a city like Corleone that makes the island a world tourist destination for curious and moviegoers.
Let us therefore take a tour around the locations of one of the most famous trilogies in movie history!
1.- Massimo Theatre
The Masimo Theatre in Palermo is located in Piazza Verdi and is the largest of the opera houses in Italy and the third largest in Europe, a neoclassical building dating from the nineteenth century.
On the front steps of this Opera House in Sicily, Coppola filmed the final scene of the film The Godfather III, one of the highlighted moments, in which Mary, Michael Corleone’s daughter, is killed by a gunman while the Intermezzo for Pietro Mascagni Cavaleria’s Opera Rusticana is played on the background .
2.- Villa Malfitano
This neo-Renaissance villa style is found in Via Dante Alighieri, 167 and is home to the Whitaker Foundation. The art collections compiled by the owner during his travels, like furniture, paintings, porcelain and Flemish tapestries from the sixteenth century garnish the rooms in the inside. Its beautiful garden is rated 5 hectares with curious plants from around the world, such as Tunisia, Sumatra, Australia, and some 150 different kinds of orchids. You can visit Villa Malfitano every morning from Monday to Saturday
Here took place the toast to Anthony‘s debut as opera singer. Anthony is the son of Michael Corleone.
3.- Castello degli Schiavi
Castello degli Schiavi, a Sicilian villa into decay already used in 1968 by Pier Paolo Pasolini to shoot some scenes for the movie The orgy is located in Via Marina Fiumefreddo, in the other end of the island. But surely, appearing in The Godfather I and II, has made the castle famous. Coppola used it for various scenes, especially is remembered for being Michael Corelone‘s death place.
Even if the name makes this famous family come to your mind, Corleone was not the real place for the film’s shooting. Want to know why? By the time of filming “The Godfather”, a judge’s murderer was nearby so they had to find new location for filming scenes corresponding to Corleone. They finally took place in two small coastal towns: Savoca and Forza D’Agro.
Despite his fame, today Corleone is a key city in the fight against the Mafia. The proof of this is Laboratorio della Legalità, a museum center founded by organizations involved in fighting the mafia, and dedicated to Magistrate Paolo Borsellino, killed during the mafia’s massacres. At the time, this building provided shelter to Bernardo Provenzano, the head of the Sicilian Cosa Nostra until his arrest in 2006.
Do not leave Corleone without trying their famous cannoli, a Sicilian origin dessert prepared here as nowhere else! This is a tube-shaped pasta filled with sweet creamy made of ricotta . “Leave the gun, take the canoli” says Peter Clemenza in a movie scene.
5.- Other Sicilian movie sites
If you are interested in this type of film tourism, you can also get close to Chiusa Sclafani, the magical village that inspired Giuseppe Tornatore to create Giancaldo in Cinema Paradiso as well as Bagheria, Castelbuono, Cefalu, Palazzo Adriano or Santa Flavia de Sicila. Piazza Bellini in Palermo was the scene of some sequences for Talented Mister Ripley.
Imagen de Michael Urso
A place well worth discovering! Check out our flights here.
Seville and the Star Wars Saga
The Plaza de España is one of Seville’s major landmarks, along with the Cathedral and the Golden Tower (Torre del Oro) and is listed as a Cultural Interest Site. It was designed by Aníbal González as part of the María Luisa Park, chosen as the fairgroundfor the 1929 Ibero-American Exhibition. It is the largest open square in Seville and was designed in the Regionalist style in predominantly brick and ceramic.
Naboo? A District in Seville?
In Episode II: Attack of the Clones, (2002), the monumental Plaza de España was transformed into Theed, the capital of Naboo, the planet ruled by Queen Amidala. In the famous scene in the galactic movie, Anakin and Amidala talk about their relationship while strolling through the square. Naturally, in post-production, the classical tiles depicting the regions of Spain were removed.
Truth be told, it was merely a two-minute scene, and not a crucial one in the film. But, that matters little. The fact is that the peerless beauty of the Plaza de España was enough to captivate George Lucas and persuade him to shoot a scene there with two of the leading stars in the saga. And, naturally, the endearing droid, R2-D2, was also included.
The shoot took place in September 2000 and was completed in practically two days, long enough to create upheaval in Seville after a legion of actors, producers, technicians and others descended on the city, joined by thousands of onlookers and those jostling to secure a part as extras in the legendary galactic saga. In the end, only some 50 privileged people were selected as extras, by which they managed to become immortalised as citizens of Naboo strolling through the square.
Seville – A Film Set
The Plaza de España has also featured in other films, including Lawrence of Arabia (1962) and The Dictator (2012). However, there are also other monuments that have become enshrined on the big screen for posterity, serving as backdrops for such stars as Tom Cruise, or characters like Captain Alatriste. But, what did George Lucas, Ridley Scott or Agustín Díaz Yanes see in Seville that prompted them to choose it as a set for their movies? The city’s cultural and urbanistic wealth, its cuisine, good communications network, excellent climate and plethora of leisure offerings are not only ideal for filming, but also for a getaway at any time of the year.
The Reales Alcázares are yet another frequent backdrop in the city’s film history, having acted as a splendid setting for such movies as Reds, by Warren Beatty, Alatriste, by Agustín Díaz Yanes and 1492: Conquest of Paradise, by Ridley Scott, who also directed Kingdom of Heaven there. It is the oldest royal palace still in current use in Europe. Peter I commissioned its building in the 14th century and its interior houses vestiges of the three most prominent cultures in the Iberian Peninsula during the Middle Ages – Jewish, Arab and Christian.
Other Seville landmarks that have been immortalised in filmmaking include the Cathedral, built over a former mosque and the third largest church in Christendom, in addition to La Giralda, the Indies Archive and the Santa Cruz District. These buildings, sited in the old city, formed the backdrop to Knight and Day, a heady movie directed by James Mangold, featuring Tom Cruise and Cameron Díaz fleeing from their enemies on motorbike. The same set was used for several scenes in the Spanish film, Nadie conoce a nadie, by Mateo Gil, starring Eduardo Noriega, Jordi Mollà and Natalia Verbeke. Lastly, and also within the world of Spanish cinema, we have Carmen, whose main star is Paz Vega. In this movie, the scenes in the tobacco factory were shot in the present-day Seville University Rectorate. The building is well worth visiting. Erected in the 18th century, it is second in size only to El Escorial in all of Spain.
Make haste to relive those moments in cinema history. And, now that we are graced with the premiere of Episode VII: The Force Awakens, what better way to pay tribute to the saga by visiting the stunning setting of one of its films? Come to Seville with Vueling and may the force be with you!
Text by ISABELYLUIS Comunicación
Images by Turismo de Sevilla