By Eugene Hernandez | Indiewire May 24, 2009 at 4:12AM
Michael Haneke's "The White Ribbon" (Das Weisse Band) won the Palme d'Or tonight as the Cannes Film Festival came to a close. The festival's coveted top award was presented by jury president Isabelle Huppert, star of his 2001 film "The Piano Teacher," which won three awards at the Cannes Film Festival eight years ago. Jacques Audiard's "A Prophet" won the Grand Prix runner-up prize.
"Kinatay" director Brillante Mendoza won the jury's Best Director prize. Closing the 62nd Festival de Cannes tonight in France is Jan Kounen's "Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky."
Austrian-born director Haneke is a nine-time veteran of Cannes ("Ribbon" being his sixth film in competition). His somber black and white story is set in a pre-war German village. Eric Kohn called the film "Bergmanesque" in his review for indieWIRE earlier in the fest. Told through the voice of the town's teacher, it is a deliberate study of the people in the village and their families and how they navitage the mystery surrounding accidents and strange occurences that are happening around the children in the village. "It's about the roots of evil," Haneke explained here in Cannes a few days ago about the film. "I wanted to present a group of children on whom absolute values are being imposed."
Jacques Audiard's "A Prophet" meanwhile has already been compared to Scorsese's nearly twenty year old "Goodfellas" many times here in France, for its engaging examination of a seedy, gangster-driven underworld that mostly takes place in a French prison. Actor Tahar Rahim's plays "Malik," who is not unlike Ray Liotta's "Henry Hill." An innocent who quickly comes of age in the mob, he can't evade the inner demons he's stirring with his shady activity. The young Arab is schooled in the ways of the mafia by a Corsican godfather, leading to an inevitable conflict. "[He's] naive in a way," Audiard explained last week in Cannes. "Almost a virgin, who utlimately builds up his identity within his commmunity. He's got no background, he is homeless..."
"At two and half hours in length, 'A Prophet' doesn't feel slow," quipped Anthony Kaufman his review for indieWIRE earlier in the fest. "What audiences will most remember about 'A Prophet' is not Malik's troubled relationship with this father figure so much as the sight of a man come of age..."
Both films will be released by Sony Pictures Classics.
Quotes, buzz and insights from on stage and backstage on awards night are also available here at indieWIRE.
[The complete list of winners, including prizes presented in the Un Certain Regard, International Critics' Week and Directors' Fortnight sections, is included on the next page.]
Full list of winners:
Palme d'Or: "The White Ribbon" (Das Weisse Band), directed by Michael Haneke
Grand Prix (runner-up): "A Prophet" (Un Prophete), directed by Jacques Audiard
Prix Exceptional du Jury (Special Jury Prize): Alain Resnais, director of "Wild Grass"
Prix de la Mise en Scene (best director): Brillante Mendoza, director of "Kinatay"
Prix du Scenario (best screenplay): Feng Mei for "Spring Fever" (Chun Feng Chen Zui De Ye Wan), directed by Lou Ye
Camera d'Or (best first feature): "Samson and Delilah," directed by Warwick Thornton
Special Mention: "Ajami," directed by Scandar Copti, Yaron Shani
Prix du Jury (jury prize) - TIED: "Fish Tank," directed by Andrea Arnold and "Thirst," directed by Park Chan-wook
Prix d'interpretation feminine (best actress): Charlotte Gainsbourg for "Antichrist" (directed by Lars von Trier)
Prix d'interpretation masculine (best actor): Christoph Waltz for "Inglorious Basterds" (directed by Quentin Tarantino)
Palme d'Or (short film): "Arena," directed by Joao Salaviza
Also winning awards at the 61st Festival de Cannes:
UN CERTAIN REGARD
Prize of Un Certain Regard: "Dogtooth" (Kynodntas), directed by Yorgos Lanthimos
Jury Prize: "Police, Adjective" (Politist, Adjectiv), directed by Corneliu Porumboiu
Special Prize: "No One Knows About Persian Cats" (Kasi Az Gorbehaye Irani Khabar Nadareh), directed by Bahman Ghobadi
"Father of my children" (Le Pere de mes Enfants), directed by Mia Hansen-Love
INTERNATIONAL CRITICS' WEEK
Grand Prix: "Adieu Gary" by Nassim Amaouche (France)
SACD award: "Lost Persons Area" by Caroline Strubbe (Belgium / Netherlands / Hungary)
ACID/CCAS Support Award: "Sirta La Gal Ba" (Whisper With The Wind) by Shahram Alidi (Iraq)
OFAJ/TV5MONDE (VERY) Young Critic Award: "Sirta La Gal Ba" (Whisper With The Wind) by Shahram Alidi (Iraq)
Short Film Awards
Canal+ Award for Best Short Film: "Slitage" (Seeds of the Fall) de Patrik Eklund (Suede)
Kodak Discovery Award for Best Short Film: "Logorama" by Francois Alaux, Herve de Crecy, Ludovic Houplain (H5)
Prize Regard Jeune: "Sirta La Gal Ba" (Whisper With The Wind) de Shahram Alidi (Iraq)
Art Cinema Award: "J'ai tue ma mere" (I Killed My Mother) by Xavier Dolan (Canada)
Special Mention: "La Merditude des choses" by Felix van Groeningen (Belgique/Belgium)
7e Prix Regards Jeunes 2009: "J'ai tue ma mere" (I Killed My Mother) by Xavier Dolan (Canada)
SACD Prize: "J'ai tue ma mere" (I Killed My Mother) by Xavier Dolan (Canada)
The Europa Cinemas Label: "La Pivellina" by Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel (Autriche/Austria)
French Short films prize: "Montparnasse" (France)
FIPRESCI CRITICS AWARDS
Cannes Competition: "The White Ribbon" (Das Weisse Band), directed by Michael Haneke
Un Certain Regard: "Police, Adjective" (Politist, Adjectiv), directed by Corneliu Porumboiu
Director's Fortnight/Critics' Week: "Amreeka", directed by Cherien Dabis