“If the [Cannes Film Festival] does not take itself seriously enough to use what power it still has to move the quality agenda forward, why would anyone else? (That is, outside of journalists who love getting a free trip to the South of France each year.) The truth is [that] Cannes has become far worse than Sundance in terms of selling out. Yet the unfamiliarity seems to be a condom from the contempt that has infected so many journalists and critics in recent years. And the studios are happy to be welcomed to abuse the credibility of the festival and to use it mercilessly as a platform to market their big, but not necessarily fine, movies to the more-important-than-home-in-many-cases European and world market.” — a not-unfair criticism from David Poland, a perennial non-attender who gets it on one level and misses it profoundly at the same time. The Cannes Film Festival exists and is trying to thrive in the world that we have made. That world, lamentably, includes gala screenings of Brett Ratner‘s X-Men 3: The Last Stand, but Cannes isn’t a hideaway haven like Telluride or the Bermuda Film Festival, and Poland finds that objectionable. I agree with him — there should be more aesthetic purity in the world — but he never goes to Cannes and I think you have to do that to get what it is and what it signifies. To roll with the film festival aesthetic of 2006 you need to be, on some level, a film-buff equivalent of a moral relativist . You can’t just sit on your squishy couch in Los Angeles and go, “Nyah-nyah.” You have to get on the plane, do the 18-hour days, sip the cappucino, file the stories and reviews and generally tough the whole thing out. Then and only then