The Cannes Festival is one of France's most iconic traditions, along with wearing bérets and eating baguettes all day. Founded in 1946, it's a major film event that serves as an opportunity to premiere new features — tickets to the screenings are extremely coveted and more rare than truffle foie gras — as well as to award prizes such as the prestigious Palme d'Or. This year, at least these twelve movies are expected to have festival success.
But like any other red carpet event, every year at Cannes also entails a slew of celebrities who only need a second to turn the glamour into provocation. To prepare our gossip-avid eyes to this year's festival, which has just kicked off, the following twelve moments are the best of the scandals and crazy moments that have rocked the red steps at Cannes.
1. Madonna Showed Up In Her Underwear
In 1991, Madonna arrived at Cannes in a silky pink robe, but the comfy gown didn't stay on her shoulders very long. She eventually revealed that her outfit was comprised only of a Jean-Paul Gautier bra and underwear — but the lingerie show-off was actually planned, appropriately, as a part of the promotion of her film Truth or Dare.
This year's Met Gala proved that the pop queen doesn't need an alibi to flaunt her assets, though.
2. Elena Lenina's Hair Defied All Laws Of Gravity
Elena Lenina is a Russian actress and writer and has repeatedly appeared on the red carpet at Cannes. While the crowd thought every year that her hair couldn't possibly get crazier than this, she's topped her own achievements every time. I mean, she's also the kind of woman who would dye a kitten pink to match her own outfit.
3. Brigitte Bardot Introduced The World To The Bikini
It doesn't get more iconically French than this: At the Cannes Festival in 1953, incarnation of French beauty Brigitte Bardot sported a revolutionary bikini while on the beach with actor Kirk Douglas. Douglas admitted he'd "never seen one of those before."
4. And Sacha Baron Cohen Kicked Off The Age Of The Mankini
While not so French, the fearless Sacha Baron Cohen promoted his movie Borat at the 2006 festival with another kind of iconic bikini: the mankini. The flattering piece of swimwear (note: it acts as a thong in the back, although we'll spare you the pictures) certainly gave him incredible publicity.
5. Flat Shoes Led To The Ultimate Faux-Pas
It might be a fashion faux pas to not respect an event's dress code, but it's an even worse attitude to reject attendees who have a good reason for doing so. At the screening of Carol in 2015, a group of women in their fifties were denied entrance because they weren't wearing heels. While the Cannes dress code technically requires heels, most of these women, some of them wives of members of the cast, avoided the heels due to medical conditions.
Emily Blunt reacted to the controversy, saying flats should be accepted.
"That’s very disappointing. We shouldn't wear high heels, anyway. I prefer wearing Converse sneakers."
6. Ryan Gosling Made Out With Nicolas Winding Refn
At the 2011 festival when director Nicolas Winding Refn won the Palme d'Or for Best Director for his movie Drive, his main actor Ryan Gosling congratulated him in the best way possible.
Yes, they kissed on the red carpet. You could hear the sound of panties dropping.
7. Director Lars von Trier Was Banned After Expressing Sympathy For Hitler
The controversial director was already quite known for blurting out bold comments, but his slip at a press conference for Melancholia in 2011 actually got him banned from the film festival. Lars von Trier said he could sympathize with Hitler, and while he said it was meant as a joke, his apologies would not undo the damage.
"I understand Hitler. He did some wrong things, absolutely, but I can see him sitting there in his bunker at the end...I sympathize with him, yes, a little bit."
8. A Journalist Crawled Under America Ferrera's Dress
Ukrainian journalist Vitalii Sediuk was less known for his articles than his antics around famous movie stars. After harassing Will Smith and Bradley Cooper, he crawled under America Ferrera's dress right on the red carpet. Everyone around them was quick to react, but we still got a few fascinating snaps of the bizarre event.
9. Actress Simone Silva Flashed The Paparazzi
Cannes in the fifties was decidedly sexy. Surrounded by paparazzi on the beach, actress Simone Silva took their shouts to "take the top off" quite literally. The organizers of the festival were not pleased with the photos — and American actor Robert Mitchum didn't know what to do with his hands.
10. Jerry Seinfeld Dressed As A Giant Bee
Judging from this list, it seems like promoting a movie is a fantastic excuse to pull off pretty much anything. In 2007, Jerry Seinfeld had the marvelous idea to dress as a giant bee for a bit of publicity for the Bee Movie. With a little help from a harness, he then flew across the bay to a dock set up for the occasion.
11. The Cast Of 24 Hour Party People Had A Dead Pigeon Fight
Michael Winterbottom's 24 Hour Party People dives back into the punk rock era of the late '70s, so the cast found it appropriate to infuse some of that mood to the festival. In 2001, they proceeded to throw dead pigeons at each other on the private beach of the Majestic Hotel, which they were promptly kicked off of.
12. A South Korean Businessman Actually Managed To Pass For Psy
Psy's Gangnam Style surely propelled him to international fame, but apparently not enough to be recognizable anywhere. In 2013, South Korean businessman Denis Carré had everyone believe he was Psy, showing up at parties and getting selfies with celebrities — until the singer took to Twitter to reveal he was nowhere near Cannes.