Gus Van Sant, a Romanian abortion drama, and a biopic about the late Joy Division singer Ian Curtis led awardees in the South of France as the 60th Cannes Film Festival came to a close last weekend.
Despite competing in a field packed with veteran (and many American) directors, Romania’s Cristian Mungiu nabbed the Palme d’Or for his film "4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days." The abortion drama, Mungiu’s second feature length film, had played early in the festival and built strong critical support and word of mouth; it currently has five reviews tallied, all positive.
Awards in the main Competition were decided by this year’s jury, led by director Stephen Frears, including Maggie Cheung, Toni Collette, Maria de Medeiros, Sarah Polley, Michel Piccoli, Marco Bellocchio, Abderrahmane Sissako and Orhan Pamuk. The jury’s selection of "4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days" for the festival’s top prize came after days of speculation that the honor could also go to fellow frontrunners like the Coen Brothers‘ riveting neo-Western "No Country For Old Men" or Julian Schnabel’s paralysis drama, "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly."
Gus Van Sant ("My Own Private Idaho," "Good Will Hunting") received the one time 60th Anniversary Award for his "Paranoid Park," a drama about a teen who accidentally kills a security guard. The film, also playing in Competition with films from Wong Kar Wai, Quentin Tarantino, David Fincher, and the Coen Brothers, among others, garnered mostly positive reviews but was far from unanimously loved by critics.
The award for Best Director went to Julian Schnabel ("Basquiat") for the widely liked "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," a film based on the experience of a man who, paralyzed by a stroke, used his left eye to blink out his memoirs. Miramax bought the French film during the festival for a reported $3 million.
The festival’s only tie occurred as the Jury Prize went to both Marjane Satrapi’s black and white animated drama "Persepolis" and Carlos Reygadas‘ Mexican Mennonite temptation pic "Silent Light." "Persepolis," based on director Satrapi’s own graphic novel memoirs of life as a young girl in Iran, garnered raves from many at the festival and currently has five unanimous positive reviews. With voice acting by Catherine Deneuve and her daughter, Chiara Mastroianni, "Persepolis" will be released by Sony Pictures Classics.
In the Director’s Fortnight sidebar competition, Anton Corbijn‘s "Control" nabbed three awards: the CICAE Art & Essai prize for best film, the Young Eyes Prize for best first or second-time director and the Label Europa Cinema Prize for best European film. The black and white rock biopic, about the tragic life and death of Ian Curtis, lead singer of the post-punk band Joy Division, is an impressive directorial debut for acclaimed photographer and music video director Corbijn (and features a breakout central performance by actor Sam Riley). The Weinstein Co. won rights to the film late last week.
Grand Prize: Naomi Kawase, "The Mourning Forest"
Best Screenplay: Fatih Akin, "The Edge of Heaven"
Best Leading Actor: Konstantin Lavronenko, "The Banishment"
Best Leading Actress: Jeon Do-yeon, "Secret Sunshine"
Camera d’or: Etgar Keret and Shira Geffen , "Meduzot (Jellyfish)" [In Critic’s Week]
Special mention, Anton Corbijn’s "Control" [In Director’s Fortnight]
Young Eyes Prize (for first or second feature length film): Anton Corbijn, "Control"
Label Europa Cinema Prize (best European film): Anton Corbijn, "Control"
Prix Art et Essai: Lenny Abrahamson, "Garage"
International Critics’ Week Grand Prize: Lucia Puenzo, "XXY"
International Critics’ Week Prize (FIPRESCI): Cristian Mungiu, "4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days"
Honorable mention: Eran Kolirin, "The Band’s Visit"
Un Certain Regard: Cristian Nemescu, "California Dreamin’"
Special Jury Prize: Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, "Actresses"
Prix Coup de Coeur: Eran Kolirin, "The Band’s Visit"
Career Achievement Palme d’Or: Jane Fonda