Dardennes Win Palme d'Or, Haneke Awarded Directing Prize at 58th Festival de Cannes
by Eugene Hernandez
Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's "L'Enfant" was awarded the Palme d'Or at the 58th Festival de Cannes, tonight in France. The two brothers from Belgium also won the coveted prize in 1999 for "Rosetta". "L'Enfant," however, remains without distribution in the United States, so far.
"We are very happy naturally, it's a very strange (feeling), we have not come back down to earth yet," said Jean-Pierre Dardenne, who returned to Cannes from Belgium today with his brother. "For the film -- the people who have worked with us and the actors -- we have dedicated that this Palme d'Or is for the actors."
Michael Haneke, the Austrian filmmaker who directed the critically-acclaimed "Caché", won the prize for best director. The film, acquired late this week by Sony Pictures Classics, was one that insiders had tipped as a front-runner for the Palme d'Or. Seeming perhaps a slight bit disappointed, Haneke said at a press conference after the ceremony, "It's quite normal if you go to a competition, you hope to get a prize -- it is already wonderful to be in a competition of this splendid caliber, it is even better when you have a prize."
Miranda July, director of "Me and You and Everyone We Know," which is set for release this summer from IFC Films, shared the Camera d'Or for best first film with Vimukthi Jayasundara for "Sulanga Enu Pinisa" (The Forsaken Land). Talking with the press after the ceremony, indieWIRE asked her about how she might write about the prize on her blog, once this day is over.
"This day for me started 15 hours ago in Seattle when I was told to get in a cab now and go to the airport," she smiled, adding that she has been taking pictures and documenting her experiences along the way back to Cannes. "I made a movie of the red carpet, with all the photographers," she said, prompting the press conference moderator Henri Behar to ask if the footage is for her next film. "No," July reacted, "(it is for) the one I am going to show tomorrow on my website."
The Grand Prix runner-up prize was awarded to Jim Jarmusch for "Broken Flowers," winner of the Camera d'Or here in Cannes in 1984 for "Stranger Than Paradise." Asked by indieWIRE about this festival's role in supporting not only his work, but that of American independent film over the past 20 years, Jarmusch explained, "It not about nationalities." Elaborating he offered, "I say death to the constraints of nationalities."
"Cannes has been a great place for celebrating the diversity of people who are all from the same tribe -- it has been a very positive thing throughout my work somehow. Sometimes I am not even sure if my films would been seen by the same number of people without the support of Cannes."
Guillermo Arriaga won the best screenplay prize for his work on Tommy Lee Jones' feature, "The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada," for which the actor/director won the Cannes best acting award. At the post ceremony press conference, a thrilled Arriaga recalled a trip to Cannes years ago as a tourist with his brother. On that visit, he explained that he saw the Palais des Festivals for the first time, hoping to return someday.
Congratulating the writer, Henri Behar noted that this festival has now made him a star. Arriaga responded humbly, with a smile, "I am not a star, I am a writer."
Complete list of winners:
Palme d'Or: "L'Enfant," directed by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne
Grand Prix (runner-up): "Broken Flowers," directed by Jim Jarmusch
Prix de la Mise en Scene (Best Director): Michael Haneke for "Caché"
Prix du Scenario (Best Screenplay Award): Guillermo Arriaga for "The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada"
Camera d'Or (For best first feature) - shared: Vimukthi Jayasundara for "Sulanga Enu Pinisa" (The Forsaken Land) and Miranda July for "Me and You and Everyone We Know"
Prix du Jury (Jury Prize): "Shanghai Dreams," directed by Wang Xiaoshuai
Prix d'interpretation feminine (Best Actress): Hanna Laslo for "Free Zone"
Prix d'interpretation masculine (Best Actor): Tommy Lee Jones for "The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada"
Court-Metrage (Short Film): Palme d'Or (short film): "Podorozhini" (Wayfarers) directed by Igor Strembitskyy
Prix Du Jury: "Clara," directed by Van Sowerwine
The winners of other prizes are posted on the indieWIRE @ Cannes blog.