Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

Woodward and Newman are on the Cannes poster

Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman will, come May, be hanging from every lamppost at the Cannes Film Festival.

Fri, Mar 22, 2013, 16:20


This is, you have to admit, a very nice image. Unless I am misrepresenting them, the Cannes authorities have, for the first time since 2007, allowed a man onto their poster. It is the late Paul Newman and he is twisted in a funky coil with his admired wife Joanne Woodward. The image was, apparently, taken on the set of A New Kind of Love in 1963. The official announcement features a characteristically colourful wedge of Gallic prose.

“The poster evokes a luminous and tender image of the modern couple, intertwined in perfect balance at the heart of the dizzying whirlwind that is love,” somebody writes. “The vision of these two lovers caught in a vertiginous embrace, oblivious of the world around them, invites us to experience cinema with all the passion of an everlasting desire.”

Fair enough. The good people of Cannes also pay tribute to Newman and note their “undying admiration for Joanne Woodward”. Ms Woodward is, of course, still with us. It would be lovely if she turned up to enter the Palais beneath her own image. She has, however, kept pretty much to herself since Newman died in 2008.

The Cannes poster is frighteningly ubiquitous around the festival. Over the last three years, we have, noting the huge banners at ever corner, felt ourselves moving through a cinematic dictatorship ruled by Commandant Binoche, Field Marshall Dunaway or General Monroe. One can imagine worse rulers than Newman and Woodward. If (for some mad reason) you want to see a modestly animated version of the poster then you can do so here.

The festival kicks off on May 15th with a screening of Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby.