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Cannes Film Festival Awards 2016

Cannes Film Festival Awards 2016

As we mounted the
stairs of the Red Carpet for the last time, the Closing Night Awards for the Cannes International Film Festival were announced by the Jury President,
George Miller, Director of “Mad Max: Fury Road”.  The eight additional members, four women and four men — Arnaud Desplechin, Kirsten Dunst, Valeria Golino, Mads Mikkelsen, László Nemes , Vanessa Paradis, Katayoon Shahabi and Donald Sutherland presented the awards. Surprise of the evening was that the German
Competition film, Maren
Toni Erdmann”, clearly an audience favorite and snatched
up immediately for the U.S. by Sony Pictures Classics, received no award at
all.  However, it was a great evening for IFC/ Sundance Selects
who has the U.S. rights to three winners, “I,
Daniel Blake
Graduation” and “Personal Shopper“. 

The Palme d’Or
went to Ken Loach for “I, Daniel Blake”, the sad drama of a disabled worker and
of a young single mother of two who hold each other up as they try to navigate
the social service morass which denies them their rightful ability to pursue
happiness.  The 79-year-old British
director Ken Loach also won in 2006 for “The Wind that Shakes the
Barley” and has had over 18 films selected for Cannes. This Sundance
Selects acquisition brought audiences to wrenching tears.

festival is very important for the future of cinema,” said Loach. “When there
is despair, the people from the far right take advantage. We must say that
another world is possible and necessary.”

Best Director Award
was split between Romanian
Cristian Mungiu (“Graduation” or “Bacalaureat”) and Olivier Assayas
(“Personal Shopper”).  Mungiu’s
“4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days” won the Palme d’Or in 2007. His actresses
had shared the Actress prize for “Beyond the Hills.” 
Like the Romanian 2013 Berlinale winner, 
“Child’s Pose” and Iranian Asghar Farhadi’s 2012 Academy Award
winner, “A Separation”, the film contains object lessons about the moral choices
made by humans whose actions result in greater damage than originally foreseen,
especially when taking place in an already corrupted society. In this story a
father tries to protect his daughter and give her the greatest opportunities
for making her life better than that of her parents.

Olivier Assayas, received his first Cannes award for “Personal

(IFC Films).  This is his second
English-language film starring Kristen Stewart (Cesar winner for “Clouds
of Sils Maria”).  As she buys
fashionable attire for a rich client and tries to communicate with her twin
brother, who has recently died. It was a great Cannes for Stewart, who was well-received
in Woody Allen’s “Cafe Society” (Amazon has U.S.) as well.

Best Screenplay
went to “The
” by Iranian filmmaker Asghar
(Amazon and Cohen Media Group share U.S. rights).  His star, Shahab Hosseini
won Best Actor his role as an actor in
the midst of moving apartments and starring in Arthur Miller’s “Death of a
Salesman” when his wife (Taraneh Alidoosti) is assaulted in the
shower of their new domicile by a man who assumes that she is the former
tenant, a prostitute. Winning the Jury
for the third time (!) for coming of age road movie “American
” (A24 has U.S.) starring Shia LaBeouf and unknown Sasha Lane. British director Andrea Arnold wanted to dance as
she accepted the award.  Xavier
Dolan, who won the 2014 Jury Prize of “Mommy” won the Grand Prix for his very theatrical “It’s
Only the End of the World
“. He cried to receive the award
for his family drama starring some of the greatest French actors living today, Nathalie Baye, Vincent Cassel, Marion Cotillard,
Léa Seydoux, Gaspard Ulliel.  The film has no U.S. distributor yet.
To my mind, the acting far outstripped the story. I am just glad the other greatest French actor, Isabelle
Huppert, was not in Dolan’s film. 
She had her hands full in Paul Verhoeven’s “Elle” the Competition film about another woman attacked in her home
by an unknown assailant. Best Actress went
to Jaclyn Jose for “Ma’ Rosa” by Philippine director Brillante

The Caméra d’Or (“Golden Camera”) for
the best first feature film presented in one of the Cannes’ selections
(Official Selection, Directors’ Fortnight or International Critics’ Week) went
to “Divines” directed by Houda Benyamina.   Houda received her award with
unconcealed joy and enthusiasm. The 35 year old Franco-Moroccan film director
whose long and strong speech called on women to be more present in the world of
cinema said, “I was always saying that I do not care about Cannes …but today,
well I’m happy to be here. Cannes belongs to us too …For things to change, you
have to put a lot more women in decision-making positions…I am a committed filmmaker, making films is a
way to turn my [feminist] anger into perspective…Women! Women!” she added as she broke into the Arabic
women’s Ululation. Houda’s film follows an impoverished young girl who drops
out of school and escapes her family in search of her own emancipation and
personal freedom.

of the Official Awards the winner of the Queer Palm (Feature) was “Les Vies de Thérèse” by Sébastien Lifshitz
and Queer
Palm (Short):
 “Gabber Lover” Anna
Cazenave-Cambet.  And finally, the Palme Dog went to Nellie for “Paterson”by Jim Jarmusch.


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