Wide angle: The Olympic Festival

This photograph shows the Olympic Torch next to the Palm logo before the screening of the film "Marcello Mio" at the 77th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France, on May 21, 2024, as part of the Olympics torch relay. (Photo by LOIC VENANCE / AFP) © LOIC VENANCE / AFP

Consistency, discipline and pushing past your limits: what better than the values of sport to shine a light on at this year’s festival, as Paris prepares to host the Summer Olympics for the third time in its history? Like an artistic bridge between sport and cinema, the Olympic Games deservedlike the teams behind the films selected—to be celebrated too. The stirring image of the torch illuminating the steps at Cannes, flanked by legendary athletes, will remain etched in people’s minds for a long time to come. The love affair between the Festival and sport goes back a long way: here’s a look at some iconic films.

Among the most beloved sports, football is almost impossible to beat. So crazy about the game that he declared the promotion of Bath City Football Clubwhich he’s a fan and shareholder ofto the Sixth Division his greatest thrill, Ken Loach delivers a memorable slice of cinema with Looking for Eric, presented in Competition in 2009. An entertaining film about the life of fans, starring Eric Cantona.

Looking for Eric, in Competition in 2009

Maradona by Emir Kusturica, 2008

The God of the beautiful game, Maradona, is covered in two important on-screen tributes. In 2008, documentary-maker Emir Kusturica directed a film detailing the incredible story of footballing genius, Diego Maradona.

And in 2019, the South American sporting legend was celebrated once moreas a heroin the documentary, Diego Maradona  by Asif Kapadia (Senna, 2010), which details the period the “Golden Boy” spent at Napoli.

Le Grand Bleu (The Big Blue)  by Luc Besson

One of the biggest hits of its year, Luc Besson’s 1988 film dazzled viewers at the 41st edition of the Festival when it opened. The Big Blue, which follows the exploits of Enzo, played by the unforgettable Jean-Marc Barr, inspired generations to get into freediving.

Foxcatcher  by Bennett Miller, 2014

Greco-Roman wrestling provides the backdrop for Bennett Miller’s feature. Channing Tatum stars as Olympic gold medallist Mark Schultz in this superb film, a reflection on power and brotherhood that won the Best Director Award in 2014.

Nasty  by Tudor Giurgiu, Tudor D. Popescu and Cristian Pascariu, 2024

Appearing at this year’s edition of the Festival is an outstanding documentary about tennis legend Ilie Nastase, the world number 1 in 1973. Delving into the colourful personality of the Romanian player, three filmmakers inspire in viewers an urge to get into the sport.

Olympiques ! La France des Jeux (Olympics! The French Games)  by Mickaël Gamrasni, 2024

“Faster, Higher, Stronger – Together”: Mickaël Gamrasni’s documentary revisits the history of the Olympic Games and that of 27 Olympic and Paralympic champions. For the love of the games!