May 25, 2008

Cannes. Awards.

IndieWIRE's Eugene Hernandez and Brian Brooks have been tracking the awards at the Cannes Film Festival as they've been announced this evening, and they've just topped the list: the Palme d'Or this year goes to Laurent Cantet's Entre Les Murs (The Class).

The Class

Further awards (and commentary as it comes in):

Updated through 5/27.

Previously mentioned awards: Un Certain Regard, the full list, topped by Sergey Dvortsevoy's Tulpan.

As noted earlier today:

Updates: "Immediately a cheer went up, as Cantet, his star Francois Begaudeau and the 24 kids in the movie swarmed onstage, beaming as if they'd all graduated summa cum laude," report Richard and Mary Corliss. "Suddenly, les enfants de Cannes were movie stars, reveling in their group closeup."

Because Che has won an award, I'm giving myself permission to rush a link here to Glenn Kenny's most excellent, and of course, most amusing entry on conservative bloggers' potshots taken at a movie they have, in fact, not seen.

Dave Kehr notes that this is the first Palme d'Or to go to a French film in 21 years: "It was Maurice Pialat's Under the Sun of Satan the last time, and I can still hear the booing and hissing that broke out in the Palais. 'If you don't like me,' said the ever diplomatic Pialat, 'Then allow me to say that I don't like you, either.'"

Updates, 5/26: Cineuropa collects quotes from the winners.

Andrew O'Hehir comments on each of the awards in Salon.

Updates, 5/27: "On Sunday night in Cannes, France left its Catholic angst behind to now firmly confront, perhaps even embrace, the 21st century," argues Agnès Poirier in the Guardian.

Glenn Kenny presents a delightfully subjective "User's Guide" to the award-winners.

Online browsing tip. A Guardian gallery of award-winners.

"This year, more than perhaps any other, it would be interesting to know what really went on in the jury deliberations, because the whole list of prizes seems like a series of compromises," writes Facets' Milos Stehlik.

"That Cantet's film, the last of the 21 movies shown in competition, was (per Penn) a unanimous choice suggests that the movie offered a welcome solution to a divided jury.... The best evidence of a divided jury was the special prize given jointly to Catherine Deneuve and Clint Eastwood." J Hoberman parses the list in the Voice.

Coverage of the coverage: Cannes 08.

Last year: Cannes @ 60. And Cannes 06.

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Posted by dwhudson at May 25, 2008 11:42 AM


Congratulations to "Entre les murs" - and to France, for their first Palme d'Or winner in... 21 years? "Un Conte de Noël" seems to be a bit overlooked, though.

Happy to see the Director prize for Ceylan; can't wait to see the film! And same with "Gomorra" - all in all, from the outside this looks like another great Cannes film festival.

Posted by: Karsten at May 25, 2008 12:03 PM

I've grown more and more intrigued by several of the films that screened this year, too, though I have to say that what seems to be the general consensus - a "good but not great" year - rings true.

The Class is a fascinating choice; going by the trailer alone, it just doesn't look like a Cantet, at least at first glance. Very anxious to see it now.

Surprises? For one, a lot of people expected Waltz With Bashir to come away with something, and it didn't.

For another, it looked as if there was sort of a late-breaking wave of admiration/appreciation for Charlie Kaufman - but of course, it's the jury, secluded away from everyone else, who decides these things and not, you know, everyone else.

Posted by: David Hudson at May 25, 2008 12:15 PM

I'm shocked that no awards were won by Jia.

Posted by: Rob at May 25, 2008 12:30 PM

I knew The Class was well-liked, but this is certainly a surprise.

The film is really pretty good but I have the impression it is also riding on a wave of goodwill towards films that simply portray the reality of a multicultural France after what has been quite a long absence of that aspect of French society in French films. Really good but not quite great films like Cantet's latest and Abdellatif Kechiche's work seem to benefit from this somehow, as if just being inclusive was in itself a merit.

Posted by: Boyd at May 25, 2008 12:35 PM

Okay, David, now you can go out for a beer and take a moment's breather. I said moment, mind you. May I express, as ever, my sincere appreciation of your consummate coverage of the Cannes Film Festival. You set the bar.

Posted by: Maya at May 25, 2008 12:38 PM

True, Rob. Shock may be a bit much, as we never know how any given jury will go, but yes.

Very interesting point, Boyd. See, too, Marjane Satrapi's comments on the film, which Eugene and Brian quote in their iW report.

And thanks, Michael. I will, in fact, be taking most of tomorrow off - heading out to the Brandenburg countryside with the family - and hopefully, my head will stop throbbing. But I'll check in in the evening, and on we'll roll.

Posted by: David Hudson at May 25, 2008 12:53 PM

Just concurring that your coverage has been extraordinary, as usual: the first site I visited every morning through the fest, and the last one every evening. Thanks, as ever, for all the hard work!

Posted by: Nick at May 25, 2008 9:26 PM

Whatever happened to Eric Khoo's My Magic? I think I've yet to read anything about it.

Posted by: Cole at May 26, 2008 7:51 AM

Thank you Mr Hudson. You're my hero!

Posted by: monyet at May 26, 2008 10:41 AM

Thanks again, Nick and monyet!

Cole, I've got an entry started on My Magic; let me find a few more pointers and it'll go up when I can.

Posted by: David Hudson at May 26, 2008 12:17 PM

Is it any way interesting to Greencine or Glenn Kenny that Del Toro accepted the Best Actor award by saying he'd "like to dedicate this to the man himself, Che Guevara"? In any way relevant to the expectation by those awful conservatives that the film will be a Guevara tongue-bath?

Posted by: Victor Morton at May 26, 2008 12:38 PM

A serious question deserves a serious answer. So: No and no.

Without speaking for Glenn, of course.

Posted by: David Hudson at May 26, 2008 12:47 PM

Thanks you, Mr. Hudson. As always, I am in awe of your generosity :) Thank you for all that you're doing!

Posted by: Cole at May 26, 2008 1:14 PM

Is it any way interesting to Greencine that Del Toro accepted the Best Actor award by saying he'd "like to dedicate this to the man himself, Che Guevara"?


Really? Put "Adolf Hitler" in that quote (or perhaps a more precise example, "Ernst Rohm" -- a charismatic band-leader underling who enjoyed the act of killing per se) and I'll bet it'd become a lot more interesting. We are in the middle after all, of a presidential race in which people who aren't exactly those awful conservatives do find very interesting the words of tangential associates (Hagee, Parsley, e.g.) and impute them to the candidacy they back.

In any way relevant to the expectation by those awful conservatives that the film will be a Guevara tongue-bath?


Oh, come off it. You are either not being serious or holding forth an ideologically bigoted double standard. Then, what WOULD be relevant then to any expectation of any film?

It is metaphysically possible for a Che Guevara film to be a tongue bath, right? And if that film were in existence, wouldn't there be external signs of it, like praise for the subject by its makers?

I mean, look ... of course it's stupid to say "CHE is a bad movie" (or any film is bad, or good) without having seen it. But not-having-seen a movie doesn't mean one has no right to certain opinions, including reasonable expectations, whether to see it yourself, and judgments of surrounding public discourse.

To establish my bona fides, here is my reaction to BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN and those turned off by the praise. And to repeat things I said then ... of course, Del Toro's words make it rational to expect a Guevara apologia and thus to say "not interested" (whether you're a viewer or, say, a distributor). And to put it bluntly, when someone doesn't even think that an actor dedicating his award to The Man Himself is somehow some irrelevant indication of nothing at all ... one is justified in being suspicious, intellectually at least.

Posted by: Victor Morton at May 26, 2008 1:19 PM

Put "Adolf Hitler" in that quote...

Hey, you know what, let's not.

More seriously, since you offer an alternative example. The expressed political beliefs of this or that filmmaker are, of course, not completely uninteresting. But they certainly don't always determine what sort of films will be made. The most obvious example would be Oliver Stone and World Trade Center. As for Benicio del Toro's actual remarks, see Andrew O'Hehir's piece, linked to above.

Posted by: David Hudson at May 26, 2008 1:39 PM

The expressed political beliefs of this or that filmmaker ... certainly don't always determine what sort of films will be made.


But exceptions like WTC aside (it was the first Stone film I went to in years; I am not anticipating W in my opinion), it is more usual that they do. Humans beings, being intelligent designers, generally create what they're trying to.

As for O'Hehir, the Del Toro words he cites are elaborations after the fact, i.e., his dedication of the award are his "actual remarks" too.

And no ... the elaboration that "this is his story and I wouldn't be in this film if he hadn't lived that life" is (1) true of every biographical role ever created and (2) not a reason to dedicate your award to him. Or rather, is only a reason to dedicate your award to him if you think him somehow good. I could cite Bruno Ganz for DOWNFALL obviously, but to avoid the Godwin-accusation rabbit hole, I don't remember Forest Whitaker dedicating any of his awards to Idi Amin, or ... I dunno ... ZODIAC being dedicated to Zodiac. Dedicating your award is a pretty infallible sign that you think the person you've portrayed is worthy of honor, and not doing so that you don't.

Posted by: Victor Morton at May 26, 2008 2:28 PM

I'm not sure about all this political talk. Our current leaders are responsible for authorizing torture, kidnapping and the rendering of suspects held in secret, in foreign countries. They've made arguments to suspend or usurp the Geneva Convention. They've established a prison for suspects who've been held for years without any charges or legal recourse to challenge their imprisonment. Oh, and they also created a false case for invading a sovereign nation and in the process not only invited al Qaeda into that country, but started an ethnic civil war between the people already living there -- all actions leading to an estimated 100,000 deaths.


So you can take your Che complaints and shove 'em up your ass. Change Che for Hitler? Bush or Cheney will do, thanks.

Posted by: at May 26, 2008 4:01 PM

Anonymous: Thank you for proving that every conservative stereotype about the US-is-evil arts-and-croissants crowd is not just a stereotype.

Posted by: Victor Morton at May 26, 2008 10:42 PM

Or to put it even more bluntly, if any Bush-Hitler comparison is even tenable, as Mr. Brave Anonymous Commentator implies, why isn't he a lampshade?

Posted by: Victor Morton at May 26, 2008 10:48 PM

You made the Hitler comparison. My response was in response to that. The fact is, lot's of leaders throughout history are bad guys. We've got them in power in our country right now. So don't go all ape on a movie you haven't seen based on your ideology. The reason you don't like Che isn't because of what he did while he was helping to run Cuba (as bad as it was), but because he was a Communist. That's all.

Posted by: at May 27, 2008 8:49 AM