I am traveling through France, visiting family (what a life!) and will begin slowly to recuperate from one of the most intense Cannes I have had in years. As I do so, I hope you will follow my Cannes journal. For now, I want to mention the prizes as I was so lucky to have been able to devote the last 3 days in Cannes to watching movies and got to see some of the winners. I made a point to see the films of my fellow Americans: The Coen BrothersInside Llewyn Davis(U.S.:CBS Films, ISA:StudioCanal) which won the well deserved Grand Prix, Alexander Payne Nebraska(U.S.: Paramount Pictures, ISA: FilmNation Ent.) whose star, 72 year old Bruce Dern, won the Best Actor Award (a “moderate surprise” to quote Cineuropa.org) as he played a decrepit old man, a few degrees removed from the almost charming Jack Nicholson in the somewhat similarly themed movie 2002 Cannes Festival film Palme d’Or and Oscar nominated film About Schmidt, Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive (U.S.: Sony Pictures Classics, ISA: HanWay Films) James Gray’s The Immigrant (ISA: Wild Bunch, No. America: TWC)starring the always outstanding, always surprising Marion Cotillard.
My personal favorites were the Palme d’Or winning Blue is the Warmest Color, or La Vie d’Adele Chapitres 1 & 2, which will be distributed in the U.S. by Sundance Selects (ISA: Wild Bunch) and whose next chapters I eagerly await, and the second to the last film screened in Cannes, Roman Polanski’s outstanding “pas de deux” Venus in Fur(U.S.: Contact ICM, ISA: Lionsgate).
For Blue is the Warmest Color the Palme d’Or director Abdellatif Kechiche along with his lead actors Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos were all called onto the stage as equals underlining their importance. NY Timessays, that this was an “unusual, perhaps unprecedented step acknowledging the contributions of both women, who appear naked in several sex scenes, but it also took some auteur sheen away from Mr. Kechiche, suggesting that the jury had engaged in intense back-room negotiations”.
The Jury Prize went to Like Father, Like Son by Japanese director Kore-Eda Hiroka. This film gives an intimate look into two families as two six-year-old boys are discovered to have been switched at birth and now must exchange parents.
Chinese director Jia Zhangke won the Best Screenplay Award forA Touch of Sin, It was his third time in competition but the first time he had won which is also good news for the French company Mk2, the film’s international sales agent.
The Caméra d´Or Jury headed by Agnès Varda presented its award to Ilo ilo, (ISA: Memento) a first film by Singapore director Anthony Chen.
The ultra violent (so I heard, as I did not see the film)Heli(ISA: NDM) by Mexican filmmaker Amat Escalante won the Best Director Award for Heli [trailer], a coproduction between Mexico, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain.
The best Actress Award went to Berenice Bejo who was visibly surprised, for her role in the Asghar Farhadi (A Separation) directed film The Past (trailer here: The Past[trailer]
The Cineuropa team would like to point out in particular two important European films: The Great Beauty [trailer, film focus] by Italian director Paolo Sorrentino and Venus in Furby Roman Polanski which both deserved a place on the winners’ list, which this year did not include any Special Mentions for feature films.
The Queer Palm Award went to the gay erotic thriller Strangers By the Lake (L’inconnu du lac) (U.S.: Strand Releasing) by writer-director Alain Guiraudie has won the 2013 Queer Palm handed out to Cannes Film Festival movies featuring gay, lesbian, bi, tri, multi, transgender, etc. characters. Stranger by the Lake was screened in the Un Certain Regard sidebar.
This is not a definitive list of the other festival winners for Directors Fortnight, Critics Week, or ACID, but I am in Arles (just bumped into CMG’s Edward Noeltner and his son Philippe!) and we’re driving to see my brother-in-law in Bordeaux!