The Festival de Cannes in 10 records

While Cannes has had its fair share of controversy and scandal (The Grande Bouffe by Marco Ferreri, Under the Sun of Satan by Maurice Pialat and Antichrist by Lars Von Trier, to name but three), the Festival and its selections, Awards and screenings have also been the stage for record-making on another scale.

The most-awarded film
Barton Fink, 1991 - Trailer
John Turturro, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen - Barton Fink, 1991 © Mario Goldman / AFP

In 1991, the Coen brothers’ Barton Fink scooped the Best Actor (John Turturro), Best Director and Palme d’Or titles, becoming the Festival de Cannes’ first triple-award-winning film.

Following on from the brothers’ haul, a rule preventing films from winning several main awards was brought in through Article 8 of the regulations: from that point on, films could only win acting awards in combination with one of the major awards. The triple-whammy move only ever happened on two other occasions: with L’Humanité by Bruno Dumont in 1999 and The Piano Teacher by Michael Haneke in 2001, with both films netting the Grand Prix plus the awards for Best Actor and Best Actress.

The director with the most appearances in the Official Selections
Ken Loach, 2014 ©  Valery Hache / AFP
Ken Loach, 2014 © Valery Hache / AFP

In 1980, Ken Loach brought a film to the Festival’s Selection for the first time, with The Gamekeeper appearing in the Un Certain Regard section. Over the course of the director’s career, he returned to Cannes time and time again, with fifteen feature films in the Official Selections, two of which won the top prize: The Wind That Shakes The Barley in 2006 and I, Daniel Blake a decade later, ushered the British filmmaker into the exclusive circle of double-award-winning directors.

The longest screening runtime
The War, 2007 - Trailer
The War, 2007 © RR

In 2007, directors Ken Burns and Lynn Novick presented a preview screening of The War, a free-flowing seven-part documentary on World War Two told through the stories of a handful of men and women from four American cities. The screening ran for an incredible 870 minutes — 14 hours and 30 minutes, across four Special Screenings from Tuesday 22 to Wednesday 23 May.

Two Best Actress Awards for the same person, the same year
Isabelle Adjani, 1981 © Ralph Gatti / AFP
Isabelle Adjani, 1981 © Ralph Gatti / AFP

Something special happened on the Croisette in 1981. During the Awards ceremony, 26-year-old French actress Isabelle Adjani found herself called up to the stage twice for the Best Actress Award: once for her performance in Quartet by James Ivory, and again for her work in Possession by Andrzej Żuławski, two films in Competition at the 34th edition of the Festival. Nobody has accomplished this since.

The longest road to the Palme d’Or
Cate Blanchett, Fabrice Aragno & Mitra Farahani, 2018 © Valery Hache / AFP
Cate Blanchett, Fabrice Aragno & Mitra Farahani, 2018 © Valery Hache / AFP

One name stands out for his sheer grit and determination in working towards Cannes’ top award: Jean-Luc Godard. The filmmaker was forced to wait a full forty-two years for his first selection in the Perspectives du Cinéma Français section for Comment ça va? in 1976, and until 2018 for his first Palme d’Or with The Image Book. That year, and for the first time in the history of the Festival, Cate Blanchett awarded a Palme d’Or Spéciale to Fabrice Aragno and Mitra Farahani on behalf of the Swiss-French director, in a mark of recognition for the exceptional artist who devoted his career to “continually striving to define and redefine what cinema can be”.

The longest standing ovation
Guillermo Del Toro - Pan’s Labyrinth, 2006 © RR
Guillermo Del Toro - Pan’s Labyrinth, 2006 © RR

While Festival de Cannes tradition states that each premiered film is showered in applause, some standing ovations go on longer than others. In 2006, Guillermo Del Toro broke the record in the Grand Théâtre Lumière, with Pan’s Labyrinth garnering the longest standing ovation ever: 22 non-stop minutes of heart-felt applause.

The youngest filmmaker to win a Palme d’Or
The Silent World, 1956 © RR
Louis Malle © RR
The Silent World, 1956 © The Cousteau Society

In 1956, Louis Malle won the Palme d’Or for The Silent World, a documentary co-directed with Jacques-Yves Cousteau. At the tender age of twenty-four, he became the youngest filmmaker to ever win the prize — a record he still holds today. Steven Soderbergh came close, winning the Palme d’Or in 1989 at just twenty-six years old for Sex, Lies, and Videotape.

The only person to have chaired the Festival de Cannes twice
Pierre Salinger & Jeanne Moreau, 1975 © AFP
Pierre Salinger & Jeanne Moreau, 1975 © AFP

Ever since 1964, the President of the Festival Jury has been a film industry professional. Actress Jeanne Moreau is alone in having chaired the jury twice, twenty years apart: first in 1975, and then in 1995, when she took part in a sequence that became iconic, taking to the stage with Vanessa Paradis to perform Le Tourbillon De La Vie for the 48th opening ceremony of the Festival de Cannes.

The glitziest Palme d’Or
The Palme d'or, 2017 © Fabrice Coffrini / AFP
The Palme d'or, 2017 © Fabrice Coffrini / AFP

2017 was a chance to mark the 70th edition of the Festival de Cannes, and to celebrate the event in style, luxury jeweller Chopard — the house tasked with making the Palme d’Or since 1998 — set the trophy with 167 diamonds, “like stardust across the leaves and stalk”. The precious stones and frosted effect on the crystal base made the trophy that little bit more special when it was awarded to Swedish director Ruben Östlund for The Square.

The actress with the most Official Selection films
Stephane Audran, Isabelle Huppert, Jean Carmet & Claude Chabrol, 1978 © AFP
Isabelle Huppert, 2001 © AFP

Iconic French leading lady Isabelle Huppert also happens to be a Festival de Cannes regular: she’s been invited over twenty-five times, and chaired the Jury in 2009. She holds the record for performing in the highest number of Official Selection films, ever since she starred in Aloïse by Liliane de Kermadec in 1976. The actor has seen her talents acknowledged twice at Cannes: she won her first Best Actress Award in 1978 playing the title role in Violette Nozière by Claude Chabrol, and her second in 2001 for her performance as Erika Kohut in Michael Haneke’s The Piano Teacher. One of the highlights of her legacy in Cannes was the Masterclass she gave in 2021, talking delighted festival-goers through her career so far.