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Day 12: Live from Cannes: Weighing in on the Worthy Winners?

It was with hurricane-like winds rocking the outside of the Palais, that the winners were announced for the 61st edition, and surprisingly, the winners weren’t as political as what one my have thought. Sean Penn’s jury had to wait until the end of the festival to find its winner for The Palme d’Or and it was director Laurent Cantet (Heading South) who took the top honors with a portrait of a “school” year in the life of a classroom of young teens and a prof still not at wits end.

It was with hurricane-like winds rocking the outside of the Palais, that the winners were announced for the 61st edition, and surprisingly, the winners weren’t as political as what one my have thought. Sean Penn’s jury had to wait until the end of the festival to find its winner for The Palme d’Or and it was director Laurent Cantet (Heading South) who took the top honors with a portrait of a “school” year in the life of a classroom of young teens and a prof still not at wits end. With a Dardenne’s like approach that blurs docu-reality with fiction, Entre Les murs (The Class) is actually the first French film to have won the top prized festival title in more than two decades. With a behind the scenes take of a teacher’s implication and devotion to these young adults’ lives and the title role played of the teacher is played by and based on Francois Begaudeau’s own autobiographical novel, this film vibrates and feels immediate. 

Two top quality Italian films received worthy honors and have renewed my faith in films from this region. The Grand Prix to Matteo Garrone’s “Gomorra” a documentary-like exploration of organized crime in Naples, look for distributors to pick this title up for the North American market, and the Jury prize was awarded to Il Divo – Paolo Sorrentino’s masterfully crafts the behind the scenes of the controversial former prime minister Giulio Andreotti.

Individual people awards were highlighted by a worthy directing award given to Nuri Bilge Ceylan, who sublimely captures a rift inside a family of three with Three Monkeys. Penn handed actress Catherine Deneuve and his Mystic River director a special prize of acknowledgement for “body of work”. Eastwood brought his two-plus hour portrait Changeling (known here at Cannes as The Exchange) into the main comp and if you’re a Clint fan then this falls around the same as his previous Oscar winning films of the last decade.

The only no-surprise category was for Best Actor: Benicio Del Toro‘s take on Che Guevara was brilliant while the two biopics weren’t among many critic’s best lists. Best Actress went to Sandra Corveloni for her role as a mother of five boys in “Linha de Passe.”

The biggest upset was the best screenplay which didn’t go to Charlie Kaufman’s highly original concept for Synecdoche, New
York
, instead it went to the Dardenne bros. somewhat compelling, but also too loose immigrant story known as The Silence of Lorna.

Here is the complete list of winners:

IN COMPETTION – FEATURE FILMS

Palme
d’Or

ENTRE LES MURS de / by Laurent Cantet

Grand
Prix

GOMORRA de / by Matteo Garrone

Prize of the 61st
Festival de Cannes ex-aequo

Catherine Deneuve dans / for UN CONTE DE
NOËL de / by Arnaud DESPLECHIN
Clint Eastwood pour / for L’ÉCHANGE (The
Exchange)

Award for the Best Director

ÜÇ MAYMUN
(Three Monkeys / Les Trois Singes) de / by Nuri Bilge Ceylan

Jury
Prize

IL DIVO de / by Paolo Sorrentino

Prix
d’interprétation masculine

Benicio Del Toro dans / for CHE de / by
Steven SODERBERGH

Best Performance for an
Actress

Sandra Corveloni dans / for LINHA DE PASSE de / by Walter
SALLES, Daniela THOMAS

Award for the Best
Screenplay

LE SILENCE DE LORNA de / by Jean-Pierre et Luc
DARDENNE

IN COMPETTION – SHORT
FILMS

Palme d’Or
MEGATRON de / by Marian
Crisan

Jury Prize
JERRYCAN de / by Julius
Avery

CAMERA D’OR

HUNGER de / by Steve
McQueen (Un Certain Regard)

Mention Spéciale Caméra d’Or

VSE UMRUT A JA OSTANUS (Ils mourront tous sauf moi) de / by Valeria
Gaï GUERMANIKA (Semaine Internationale de la Critique)

UN
CERTAIN REGARD

Un Certain Regard
Prize

TULPAN de / by Sergey Dvortsevoy

Jury
Prize

TOKYO SONATA de / by Kurosawa Kiyoshi

Heart
Throb Jury Prize

WOLKE 9 de / by Andreas Drese

The
Knockout of Un Certain Regard

TYSON de / by James
Toback

Prize of Hope

JOHNNY MAD DOG de / by
Jean-Stéphane SAUVAIRE

CINEFONDATION

First Cinéfondation
Prize

HIMNON (Hymne) de / by Elad Keidan (The Sam Spiegel Film and
TV School, Israël)

Second Cinéfondation Prize
FORBACH
de / by Claire Burger (La fémis, France)

Third Cinéfondation
Prize

STOP de / by Park Jae-ok (The Korean Academy of Film Arts,
Corée du Sud)
KESTOMERKITSIJÄT (Signalisation des routes) de / by Juho
Kuosmanen (University of Art and Design Helsinki, Finlande)

DIRECTOR’S FORTNIGHT

Europa Cinemas Label award for best European film:
Eldorado” by Bouli Lanners

“Regards Jeunes” prize:
Eldorado” by Bouli Lanners

 SACD prize for Best French-language feature film:
Les Bureaux de Dieu” by Claire Simon

Independent cinema programmers prize the “Prix de la CICAE”:
Blind Loves by Juraj Lehotsky

CRITIC’S WEEK

GRAND PRIX
Snow,” (Aida Becic, Bosnia-Herzegovina-Gernany-France)

SACD SCREENWRITER PRIZE
Jean-Claude Van Rijckeghem and Pat Van Beirs (“Moscow Belgium,” Belgium)

ACCID/CCAS AID
Moscow Belgium,” (Christophe Van Rompaey, Belgium)

OFAJ/TV5MONDE (VERY) YOUNG CRITICS AWARD
Blood Appears” (Pablo Fendrik, Argentina)

CANAL PLUS FRANCE SHORT FILM GRAND PRIX
Next Floor” (Denis Villeneuve, Canada)

KODAK SHORT FILM DISCOVERY PRIZE
Skhizein,” (Jeremy Clapin, France)

Fipresci Awards:
Delta“(Kornel Mundruczo, Hungary-Germany) –
Competition; “Hunger“- Un Certain Regard; “Eldorado“(Bouli lanners,
Belgium-France) – Directors’ Fortnight

Ecumenical Award
Adoration“(Atom Egoyan, Canada-France)

 

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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