Cannes Film Festival: Hou Hsiao-hsien’s The Assassin is the most beautiful film at Cannes

9:30 a.m. Even to a newcomer, it quickly becomes obvious that the Palais, Cannes’ main theater complex, is either a microcosm of the festival, or was built in its image. Cannes is a culture of patronage, consecration, and iron rules, and the Palais itself resembles a late ’70s abstraction of a medieval city. It has towers, bridges, and a central marketplace, the Marché, located in the basement, full of stalls where sales agents and national film agencies hawk 3D animated films from China, Dolph Lundgren and Steven Seagal movies, and unproduced projects that are looking to pre-sell. This is the convention/trade show part of Cannes, with its own theaters and screenings, from which the press are usually barred.

The Palais itself is built on the water, like the merchant trading center that it is. Yachts the size of three-story houses are moored behind the Palais, floating offices …

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