Cannes: Why do the standing ovations last up to 22 minutes?

The Cannes Film Festival is underway, which means the timers are up.

Nowhere is the duration of standing ovations at high-voltage premieres more carefully recorded and analyzed than in Cannes. Did a movie get an eight-minute standing ovation? Or did the audience stand for four or five minutes?

How has such an unlikely metric come to reverberate around the world within minutes of a premiere? And why is everyone on their feet for so long? Does anyone get tired hands?

Such effusive displays of enthusiasm have become a Cannes hallmark, and sometimes a marketing gimmick for films seeking to resonate away from the Croisette. If Cannes, the world’s largest and most dazzling film festival, represents cinematic excess, his thunderous standing ovations may seem like his greatest excess. No one needs a bathroom break?

Less well known, however, is how the Cannes pageantry shapes and distorts standing ovations. When the audience soars after the credits roll at the Grand Theater Lumière, Cannes’ biggest screen, they’re not just standing up and applauding the movie they’ve just seen.

Right after a movie ends, a cameraman swoops in and starts photographing the filmmaker and cast members, who are sitting in the middle of the theater. That video plays live on the screen to everyone inside while the camera, often very patiently, he brings each prominent actor to the fore. The applause is only partly for the movie; it is also for each star.

When “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” recently premiered in Cannes, the camera gave Mads Mikkelsen, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Ethann Isidore, Harrison Ford and director James Mangold each their own moment to bask in the adulation. In the end, trade publications, which have reporters inside the theater to keep track of the time, they recorded the standing ovation in five minutes. Variety called it a “lukewarm” reception.

Inflation can be such a scourge that it’s even affecting permanent O’s. In most parts of the world, a five-minute standing ovation would count as a response to a dream. In Cannes, it’s supposedly as warm as a day’s worth of espresso.

Reviews of “Dial of Destiny” were, in fact, mixed. But it’s also possible that the audience, or the film’s stars, have had enough after a 142-minute film that was preceded by a highly animated tribute to Ford. The next day, a visibly emotional Ford called the experience “indescribable.”

The longest standing ovation on record at Cannes belongs to Guillermo del Toro’s “Pan’s Labyrinth,” which got a 22-minute party, enough time to watch an episode of “Seinfeld” without the commercials. “Fahrenheit 9/11” by Michael Moore, on his way to winning the Palme d’Or at Cannes 2004, was applauded for 20 minutes. Jeff Nichols’ “Mud” was cheered for 18 minutes in 2012.

A standing ovation that breaks the clock does not always translate into quality. Lee Daniels’ “The Paperboy” isn’t exactly considered a modern classic, but it did achieve a 15-minute stand-up O in 2012.

Cannes has long been known for its passionate responses. Some highly revered films, like Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now,” have been booed at the festival. But boos are more likely to be heard at press functions than at gala premieres. At those, a standing ovation is more or less a matter of etiquette.

At this year’s festival, the most stellar films have been well received. Haynes’ “May December,” with Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore, nearly matched the response to her “Carol,” with an eight-minute standing ovation. Karim Aïnouz’s historical drama “Firebrand”, starring Alicia Vikander and Jude Law, recorded the same thing. Vikander called the high-decibel roar of the crowd a moving and unforgettable experience.

“I was shaking a little bit,” Vikander said. “It really affects you.”

Related News

Leave A Reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here