' ' Cinema Romantico: Cinema Romantico's Cannes Brûlé Palme is Cancelled

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Cinema Romantico's Cannes Brûlé Palme is Cancelled

The 71st Cannes Film Festival wrapped last week. As such, this is the week when Cinema Romantico would traditionally bestow its famously not-renowned Brûlé Palme, this blog’s variation on Cannes’ prestigious Palme d’Or, awarded each year to our favorite Cannes Film Festival attendee. This year, however, we have chosen not to bestow our un-exalted Brûlé Palme. I mean, we would bestow it, we absolutely would, to Asia Argento, but we know Ms. Argento, rightfully, respectfully, would smash our admittedly pointless Brûlé Palme into a thousand pieces.

This blog has no problem with film festivals. We really don’t. We don’t even mind the critics covering them who author 140 character 280 character reviews by Tweet 90 seconds after the screening so long as those critics admit up front that they are writing their reviews entirely within the Cannes champagne bubble atmosphere where proclamation trumps rumination. And we will never not love the inherent frivolousness that film festivals of the ornate Cannes variety provide. They are silly, star-laden, red carpeted affairs, and because this blog is more than capable of allowing multiple thoughts to co-exist in our mind at any one time, we refuse to engage with the flimflammery claiming that you can't care about something like Cannes when X, Y, or Z is happening. Please.

Still. Cannes, as Asia Argento emphatically stated when she took the stage at the festival’s awards ceremony this past weekend, was where she was raped at the age of 21 by Harvey Weinstein. “This festival,” she said, “was his hunting ground.” She continued:  “I want to make a prediction: Harvey Weinstein will never be welcomed here ever again. He will live in disgrace, shunned by a film community that once embraced him and covered up for his crimes.” Then, the turn. “Even tonight,” she said, “sitting among you, there are those who still have to be held accountable for their conduct against women, for behavior that does not belong in this industry, does not belong in any industry. You know who you are. But most importantly, we know who you are. And we’re not going to allow you to get away with it any longer.”

Shunning Weinstein, in other words, alters nothing. It make the industry feel better about itself, and it might allow proprietors of the asinine A Few Bad Apples theory to wash their hands of the mess and move on, but it does not cleanse the movie industry of all its myriad sins. Argento, however, bravely stepped up to call all the sinners still in prominent places of power within the industry out. Not by name, perhaps, but nevertheless right to their face, and in the brightest spotlight imaginable. If you don’t think she’s right, if you don’t think she was taking a risk, keep tabs on her IMDb credits in the coming years and see how things go for her.

The red carpet should not, literally or figuratively, be rolled up and stowed away as festival season rolls on. Because to roll up the red carpet and stow it away is a means to try and ward off the conversation by acting as if cheap symbolism means something. So, for the rest of festival season and awards season after that, I hope the red carpet stays right where it is, and I hope more women and men in Hollywood follow Argento’s lead. Step into the spotlight, walk the red carpet, turn around, douse the red carpet in gasoline, and toss a match. Change, real change, will have taken place only when the industry has been fumigated not only of Weinstein but of every person like him.

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