By Indiewire | Indiewire May 27, 2009 at 2:20AM
Jacques Audiard's "A Prophet," winner of the Grand Prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival, was picked as the best film of the festival by a small group of sixteen English language critics and bloggers polled over the weekend by indieWIRE. Audiard's film topped Lars von Trier's "Antichrist" and Corneliu Porumboiu's "Police, Adjective" in the survey.
"A Prophet" was also singled out for best screenply and its lead actor, Tahar Rahim, scored the acting achievement nod.
The list of top selections in each ballot category follows, with comments provided by some of those polled. Participants in the survey included: Baz Bamigboye from The Daily Mail, Alex Bilington from FirstShowing.net, writer Mike D'Angelo from Paste and A.V. Club, frequent iW contributor (and Screen critic) Howard Feinstein, indieWIRE's Eugene Hernandez, iW critic Eric Kohn, Eric Lavallee from ION Cinema, blogger and writer Michael Lerman, critic and writer Dennis Lim, Karina Longworth from Spout.com, writer Patrick McGavin, Wesley Morris from the Boston Globe, IFC TV's Matt Singer, Amy Taubin from Film Comment, Variety blogger, Anne Thompson, and IFC's Alison Wilmore.
1) "A Prophet" - 14 pts (6 mentions)
- "Antichrist" - 11 pts (5 mentions)
- "Police, Adjective" - 10 pts (5 mentions); The White Ribbon - 10 (5 mentions)
1) Jacques Audiard - 15 pts (6 mentions)
- Gaspar Noe - 14 pts (5 mentions)
- Lars von Trier - 12 pts (5 mentions)
1) "A Prophet" - 11 pts (7 mentions)
- "Up" - 8 pts (3 mentions); "The White Ribbon" - 8 pts (3 mentions)
1) Tahar Rahim, "A Prophet" - 16 pts (6 mentions)
- Giovanni Mezzogiorno, "Vincere" - 10 pts (4 mentions)
- Ronnie Bronstein, "Go Get Some Rosemary" - 8 pts (6 mentions); Christoph Waltz, "Inglourious Basterds" - 8 pts (4 mentions)
1) "Kinatay" - 12 pts (5 mentions)
- "Antichrist" - 8 pts (4 mentions)
- "Map of the Sounds of Tokyo" - 7 pts (4 mentions)
- "Tetro" - 7 (3 mentions)
"The line-up looked very strong before the fest began, but after seeing most of them, it's turning out to be a weak year. A few great highlights, like 'Un Prophete', but there have been quite a few let downs this year."
"This has happened before: Everyone gets excited by the names of the "big" directors on the festival circuit. And, once again, most of their works were minor, certainly not their best, with the notable exceptions of Michael Haneke, Gaspar Noe, and Bahman Ghobadi, all with career bests, in my opinion.
"The Quinzaine ('Daniel y Ana', 'J'ai Tue Ma Mere', 'La Famille Wolberg', 'Polytechnique') and Un Certain Regard sidebars ('Politist, Adjectiv', 'Le Pere De Mes Enfants', 'Dogtooth', 'Tales From the Golden Age', 'Air Doll') were strong this year, but contrary to what I had originally thought, 2009's main competition won't be remembered as a vintage year for Cannes. I'm thinking of recent titles from previous years ('The Class', 'Gomorrah', 'Waltz with Bashir', '4 months, 3 weeks, 2 days', 'Diving Bell & the Butterfly', 'No Country For Old Men', 'Silent Light', 'Babel', 'Cache', 'Volver') and I can honestly say in all likelihood: that titles from Venice and TIFF (over that of Cannes) will dominate year end top ten lists.
"I saw plenty of very good films this year, but those moments at the end of 'Enter The Void' and 'Antichrist', in which the cheers and boos competed and out on the streets were dozens of heated conversations about the film we'd just watched, those are why I love coming to this festival."
"This was a year of images with significant resonance. From the visual provocations of 'Antichrist' and 'Enter the Void' to the unsettling Bergmanesque vision of communal disruption in 'The White Ribbon', the sheer power of the moving image persistently reverberated with audiences. Some people have claimed that Cannes's 62nd year was a weaker one from an aesthetic standpoint; nothing could be further from the truth, because even the movies that divided audiences stuck with all of them. And that's what good movies -- and good film festivals -- are all about.
Anonymous at writer's request:
"From Bong Joon-Ho to Sam Raimi, each director in the selection started the next chapter of their career this year in Cannes. 2009 will go down as the year where we all had the highest hopes for the festival based on the profile of the directors in the lineup and those directors managed to continuously surprise us - sometimes by drastically shifting gears from previous work, sometimes by disappointing us with the quality of their new films, but more often than not exceeding expectations in the most unexpected ways.