Sunday, May 23, 2010

And the sun went down on the French Riviera . . .

After 12 days, the Cannes Film Festival has come to a close. The grand consensus seems to be that this year’s lineup wasn’t terribly impressive, though I would no doubt find myself pondering the necessity of having two arms if I were offered a chance to have been able to go. I thought that I had a decent shot at predicting the awards, but, no surprise, the jury surprised me yet again. After last year’s pretty unsurprising victory by The White Ribbon, which seemingly ran away with the Palme d’Or, maybe I (unintentionally, of course) let a little pride sneak into the good old psyche. Let’s just say that my early handicap was pretty far off, and I’ve learned my lesson. And I thought the Academy was tough . . .

Helpful hint: keep in mind that the Festival almost never gives any one film more than one award.

Feature Films

Palme d'Or - Lung Boonmee Raluek Chat (Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives) directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul
A total surprise. I thought that either Another Year, The Housemaid, Des Hommes Et Des Dieux, or maybe even Copie Conforme would get it, so the jury’s choice is surprising. I’ve heard interesting things about the film, but nothing to suggest that it was a major contender for the Palme.

Grand Prix - Des Hommes Et Des Dieux (Of Gods And Men) directed by Xavier Beauvois
The response was very positive for the film, so winning what’s essentially Cannes’ “second prize” makes sense. I'd not heard of it until the festival began, and now it's on my must-see list.

Award for Best Director - Mathieu Amalric for Tournée (On Tour)
I heard that this film wasn’t particularly good, so Amalric’s victory in this category seems like a nod for the home team’s guy.

Award for Best Screenplay - Lee Chang-dong for Poetry
Poetry has had really strong buzz, and I’d heard its star, Yoon Jeong-hee, was a potential contender for best actress. As that didn’t happen, the jury’s decision to honor the film elsewhere is understandable.

Award for Best Actress - Juliette Binoche in Copie Conforme (Certified Copy) directed by Abbas Kiarostami
HOORAY! Binoche is one of my favorite actresses, and her victory is one that gives me great pleasure. Despite the less-than-stellar reviews for the film, the winner of the Prix d'interprétation féminine would inspire me to watch a film about just about anything. However, think about this : despite the acclaim for Binoche’s work shown here, do you think the Festival’s posterchild will get an Oscar nomination? Sadly, I have every reason to doubt that’ll happen.

Award for Best Actor (tie) - Javier Bardem in Biutiful directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu
Elio Germano in La Nostra Vita (Our Life) directed by Daniele Luchetti
Bardem’s been considered a contender for this one since the film premiered. As for the tie with Germano, I’m surprised. I didn’t hear anything about La Nostra Vita, and don’t know much of anything about it. That’ll have to change, and soon.

Jury Prize - Un Homme Qui Crie (A Screaming Man) directed by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
The first film from Chad to be included as a part of the Official Selection, and the first to win an award. I’ve heard good things.

Short Films

Palme d'Or/Short Film - Chienne D'histoire (Barking Island) directed by Serge Avédikian

Jury Prize/Short Film - Micky Bader (Bathing Micky) directed by Frida Kempff

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