One cannot ignore the business side of Cannes. It's the largest market for film buying in the world. And many of those fine foreign and indie films you see (or hear about) make a trip through Cannes where they are bought by film distribution companies.
This year seems to be a very poor year.
This from The London Times is somewhat bleak news for specialized film exhibitors. (Thanks for the tip, Emily)
"THE quality of films at this year’s Cannes Film Festival has been so poor that the first deal by a Hollywood studio has been made only three days before the end.
Studios such as Miramax, Lions Gate and IFC films, which have brought hundreds of representatives to the French resort, shunned every film in the festival that they saw in the first week."
Screen Daily writes:
"This year, the collective Competition choices were considered the worst in living memory and some of those memories stretch back almost forty years."
From experience I can say that every year most critics bemoan the lack of quality films at Cannes and every year they are wrong.
First off, this opinion specifically deals with the main competition films. Yet there are so many fine films in Un Certain Regard and Director's Fortnight - not to mention the Cannes Market - that unless one sees everything there is no way to make a true judgement about the overall quality.
While it's true that there doesn't seem to be many films that everyone can agree on there most definitely are films that are good and possibly great that will be appreciated by a good number of viewers. Time will tell. Most of these films will be slated to play the festival circuit in the fall. But I guarantee that a good number of the films that play at Cannes this year will be praised by the critics once they hit our shores.