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  • Juan Moreno

Winning the top prize at Cannes doesn’t necessarily mean a film is any good…

Updated: May 24, 2021

Cinematographers for narrative cinema are frequently heard to say that the photography always has to be in service of the story, and the same, I believe, goes for corporate communications. Don’t be seduced by show-off cinematography, expensive production design and a pile of VFX, but just tell your story in the most effective way possible - bigger is not always better, even if it wins prizes.

The 2020 Grand Prix de Cannes, “THE BLUE WAY, NEXT EXIT” for the German company Drees & Sommer, in my view, falls into this trap. Have a look and judge for yourself.

Impressive visuals, but I was left wondering exactly what the film was trying to tell me, except for something unclear about urban regeneration. There was a title at the end referring to “uniting opposites”, but I struggled to see how this was represented in the film and then it seemed to imply at the end of the piece that all this urban regeneration was but a young person’s dream, leading me to think that perhaps these sorts of “greening” schemes we had seen were being portrayed as unrealistic. At 6 minutes it also outstayed its welcome by about 3 minutes, to be frank, and I couldn’t understand what the long VFX sequences were trying to show. Nevertheless, it won the top prize and you may agree with the large panel of judges rather than me.

Personally, I much preferred an infinitely more modest (and shorter) Silver Prize winner for the Corporate Video category from ICF Next, called “More than Food, Great Stories to Share”, which promoted European food with fairly straightforward slow-motion cinematography and a few lines of text. The message was clear and the food did indeed look delicious.

Remember, a plenty of cash and a prize at Cannes doesn’t necessarily make your film better if your messaging isn’t clear. Have a look at other corporate Cannes winners for some inspiration for your videos and get in touch with Four Rooms if you want your story well told without excess bombast… nor excess budget.

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