At no film festival is the standing ovation measured so precisely and nowhere is it given such great importance as in Cannes. Films with an eight-minute round of applause are crowned with success, a hard five-minute round of applause means a “soft reception”.
Measuring the length of applause may not seem like the most reliable scientific method, but the fact is that this very data leaks into the media in no time after every premiere and sets the opening beat for the film’s reception. Producers who would like to sell their films as well as possible beyond the French Riviera, often bet precisely on the news of thunderous applause after the premiere screening of a feature film.
The organizers “help” with the applauseThe general public otherwise cannot know how the applause is affected by the Cannes protocol. When the lights come up at the Lumière Theater and the end credits roll, people don’t stand up and clap simply out of excitement for the movie they’ve just seen. As soon as the film is over, a cameraman appears in the hall and begins to document the film crew very systematically (and in very close-up shots) – the footage is broadcast live on the big screen. Applause is therefore not necessarily intended for the film as a product, but for each individual star with whom the camera is in a hurry.
At the recent premiere of the latest Indiana Jones movie, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destinythe cameraman gave a rather extended moment under the spotlight to each of the celebrities present – Mads Mikkelsen, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Ethan Isidor, Harrison Ford and the director to James Mangold. Journalists from leading film publications, who were closely following their stopwatches in the hall, were thus able to aim for a five-minute standing ovation. The length of the applause, which anywhere else in the world would have been considered a euphoric response, was described in Variety as a “lukewarm reception”.
It’s true that “Indicator of Destiny” got mixed first reviews. But the length of the applause can also be “to blame” for the fact that after the 142-minute film, the audience was already tired of sitting in the hall, Harrison Ford however, it was already honored at the honorary award ceremony before the screening itself. A moved Ford described the experience as “indescribable” the next day. “The warmth, the sense of community, the welcome – all this is hard to imagine. It really makes me happy.”
Scorsese leads this yearThe length of the ovation is also directly related to whether the players are flirting with the “applause camera” or whether they would like to speed up the whole process as much as possible. After the premiere of Scorsese’s epic Flowers of the Killer Moon as the camera panned past the entire cast, leonardo dicaprio and others continued to applaud alongside him, even though most of the audience had already stopped applauding. At the end, the representatives of the Osage tribe joined in, and with their enthusiastic screams, they provoked another round of applause from the people. According to Scorsese’s film, the stopwatch stopped at nine minutes, which instantly crowned the film one of the most high-profile premieres of this year’s Cannes – and laudatory article titles and thus a positive first impression were guaranteed.
For filmmakers who experience such a reaction firsthand, it can all be a very emotional experience. It’s Cannes in 2015 Todd Haynes awarded with a 10-minute standing ovation for the love drama Carol. “I don’t think we wrote on the poster that we were applauded for 20 minutes in Cannes,” recalls producer Christine Vachon. “But when something like this happens, when the film is rewarded for all the hard work, it is of course incredibly satisfying.”
The record is held by Guillermo del ToroThe record for the longest applause at Cannes belongs to To Guillermo del Toro and his allegorical dramas Pan’s Labyrinth: the audience’s standing ovation lasted a good 22 minutes. He also came very close to that number Michael Moorewhich are for him Fahrenheit 9/11 in 2004, he was applauded for 20 minutes (and at the end of the festival he was awarded the Palme d’Or), and he landed in third place after 18 minutes of applause Jeff Nichols with historical drama Mud (2012).
However, long applause does not necessarily mean a good film: in 2012, the audience is the film The Paperboy directed Lee Daniels was rewarded with a 15-minute round of applause, but the feature film later did not exactly qualify as a modern classic. It’s probably safe to say that Cannes has always been a place for violent reactions: for example, people booed at the premiere Apocalypse nowwhich is probably still Francis Ford Coppola’s most revered film today.
A matter of courtesyAs a rule, whistles are reserved mainly for press screenings – standing ovations at gala premieres are mainly a matter of politeness and basic manners. This year, therefore, the vast majority of films at the festive premiere did well. Drama May December Todd Haynes was received almost as warmly as his was years ago Carol (eight-minute standing ovation), the film did about the same Firebrand starring Alicia Vikander and Jude Law. “I was shaking a little,” Alicia Voikander later described the applause. “It really comes to a person alive.”