Author: Paige McGrail

Film Festivals as Cultural Proxy of Cold War Ideology

Since their inception, film festivals have been a vehicle for nations to display both filmmaking merit as well as political ideologies. The post war film festival boom in Europe initiated a festival culture that praised nationalism and acted as an “Olympics of Films” for countries to gather and celebrate their national cinemas. [i] These newly founded festivals served as perfect stomping grounds for Cold War powerhouses to flaunt their cultural and political prowess and acted as small scale, cultural proxy wars during the height of the Cold War in Europe. This paper will examine the role that film festivals played in Cold War conflicts by examining the festivals that occurred in Cannes, Karlovy Vary, and Berlin. These three festivals act as a cross section of Cold War era festival culture in terms of the geopolitical forces at play in their cities; Cannes being solidly rooted in the West, Karlovy Vary being the major film festival of the Eastern Bloc countries, and Berlin smack in the middle of heated Cold War conflict. Studying film festivals as …