Written by Steve McAnon, CNN
Des Espresses dans les gilets jaune (Des Espresses du Globe) may not have anything to do with the Cannes Film Festival, but its participation there is indicative of an emerging trend toward cinema that reaches beyond French borders.
Featuring iconic images of islands in the Caribbean and related imagery from around the world, the show brings together works by French, American, Greek, Chinese, Chinese-speaking and Vietnamese artists under the title "Multiplicity," also a Cannes Film Festival centerpiece.
In addition to filming itself, this collection of works -- from the 1930s to the present day -- exhibit all the diversity that the exhibition defines.
The exhibition draws heavily on the mythology behind the islands and their islands, including mythology, or what Nam Nguyen, a gallery assistant at the International Contemporary Chinese Print Museum, describes as "Xin Ling", where each island is associated with its people.
"Zhang Yueqin (1941-1994) was one of the strongest contemporary Chinese artists. His work shows all the facets of the lives of the people, including the politics and history of the region and the way human beings have related to the art. His works are the perfect example of the theme of these paintings."
Another significant piece in the show is a painting by Yuequan, who has been called "the greatest missing artist of Chinese modern art" and died at the age of 35. In his work, it is not the artist who is missing, but the island from which he paints.
"He is a Chinese artist that is working with Chinese painters in China. We are interested in how the relationship of the East with the West changed during the 1920s, 1930s, which affected his work so much. And we also see how it has developed from that in the last 50 years."
Although many people associate S/S '72 (1989-93) with the reign of Jacques Chirac, the collection also showcases a more contemporary installation by Philippe Vaillancourt called "Haute Horizontal" (1989). The work, covered in red dots and floating against a turquoise background, represents a kind of floating western or "Haute Couture" idea of haute couture.
"We have a lot of unusual things here, like some art from Russia or Beijing -- most of the art in the show is from China."
Although the exhibition in Cannes wasn't curated by the French government, it represents yet another step in its policy of supporting art across the board, creating a showcase of much-needed artistic diversity.
"I think we should be a bit French to realize that we have to reach out, and we have to recognize that the Frenchness of it is our calling card. When we don't do this, we fall apart -- like Hollywood does."