Festivals in Europe

The Cannes (pronounced “kaan”) Film Festival, one of the world’s most famous and prestigious film festivals, was held from May 15 to 26. The festival is held every year in the town of Cannes, France. Film celebrities from all over the world were in attendance. The highest award at the festival is the Palme d’Or (French for “Golden Palm”) which was awarded to a French film “Blue Is the Warmest Color”. The festival is quite large. Last year, it was attended by over 27,000 film professionals and about 4,000 journalists. An unofficial award is also given to the dog that has the best performance in a film. The award is called the Palm Dog and the winner this year was Baby Boy, the dog in the American film “Behind the Candelabra”.

The Cannes film festival was first held 67 years ago, but that’s only about half as old as film-making itself. Photography, or the art of “still pictures” was invented in the 1820s. It was only in the 1890s that “moving pictures” were invented. The Lumiere brothers, Auguste and Louis (see image), invented a device in France to record and show moving pictures. They called it the “cinematographe”, from which we get the word “cinema”. Their first film was “La Sortie des usines Lumière”, which was just 48 seconds long. They did the first paid public showing of their films in Paris, France on December 28, 1895. Many scholars view this event as the “birth of cinema”. Years later, Louis Lumiere was asked to become the first president of a film festival – the Cannes film festival.

Europe celebrated another big event, the Eurovision Song Contest, an annual song competition for countries that are active members of the European Broadcasting Union. This year, the contest was held in Malmo, Sweden and 39 countries participated. Emmelie de Forest, a 20-year-old Danish singer, won the contest for her song “Only Teardrops”. Eurovision is one of the world’s largest and oldest music competitions. It started in 1956, and has been broadcast on TV every year since, making it one of the longest running television shows in the world. The participants can sing in any language they wish. The contest is held in the country of the previous year’s winner. Therefore, next year’s Eurovision will be in Denmark. Azerbaijan’s song entry came in second place followed by Ukraine’s in the third place.

Some of Eurovision’s contestants have gone on to become quite famous. ABBA from Sweden (the 1974 winner), Celine Dion from Canada (the 1988 winner), and Julio Iglesias from Spain (a 1970 participant) are some examples.

Did you know?

Belgium’s song entries in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2003 and 2008 were in made-up languages.

La Sortie des usines Lumière:


You can watch a video of “Only Teardrops” here.

Image Credits:  http://www.eurovision.tv/ for Eurovision’s logo, Albin Olsson for Emmelie de Forest’s image
Sources: http://www.festival-cannes.fr, http://www.eurovision.tv