Stars and the off-screen spectacle of film festivals: Charlotte Gainsbourg at Cannes

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According to Richard Dyer, star images ‘are always extensive, multimedia, intertextual’. Film festivals are sites where the intertextuality or transmediality of star images are often brought into play. The Cannes Film Festival, in particular, is a case in point, and Charlotte Gainsbourg is one star whose star image is intimately connected to the iconic festival as an important locus or site of her celebrity. Gainsbourg’s celebrity is situated at the intersection of three texts or discourses: film, fashion, and press; with film serving largely to legitimate the presence of the star at the festival, the interest falling more commonly on the red carpet, interviews and press conferences, and associated scandals (most notably, for Gainsbourg, through her association with festival enfant terrible, Lars von Trier). Throughout her thirty-year career, Gainsbourg has attended Cannes in several guises: actor, presenter, jury member, prize winner, provocateur, red carpet style icon, and unwilling participant in one of the festival’s most controversial moments in its seventy-year history. Building on the scholarship of Pamela Church-Gibson on fashion, celebrity and film festivals, and Marijke de Valck on film festivals and stars, this article investigates how the Cannes Film Festival has both shaped and exploited Gainsbourg’s star image.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)533-542
Number of pages10
JournalCelebrity Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2019


  • Cannes
  • Charlotte Gainsbourg
  • fashion
  • scandal

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