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Live from Cannes: Romania mania and Winners announced

Judging by this year’s winners of the Grand Prix in the Un Certain regard section and the Palme d’Or in the main comp, it looks like the emerging Romanian cinema has a healthier chance of breaking out onto the international scene. Cristian Mungiu's 4 months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days won the top prize at Cannes, while California dreamin' (Nesfarsit) whose director Cristian Nemescu who died during post-production won the Un Certain Regard crown.

Us folks at are extremely happy with the diverse mix of titles that received awards in Cannes this past Sunday night – it proves that great cinema can come from smaller film nations and art house theatres can still count on diversity no matter what language is spoken and regardless if the film holds popular names/stars. Both films flew extremely low on my radar before I came down to the festival, but even after screening extremely early in the festival (day 2) 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days was already the talk of the festival from the critic’s pov.  

My early departure on Saturday, meant I couldn’t grab a last showing of the talked about film in its last representation.  I was bang on the best actress winner – but so was everyone else..meaning it may have been a surprise for the actress but everyone seem to agree on the choice. Apparently the actress only chooses to act in one project per year – you can be sure that Secret Sunshine’s Jeon Do-yeon will get even more demands. In terms of predications, the same can’t be said for the best actor winner – many folks were thinking that Javier Bardem might get the nod with No Country for Old Men.   

Unlike the Oscars were one title generally wins in all categories, Cannes awards were spread out among the favs – Van Sant (who I thought who grab directing honors) received the token 60th anniversary award for his body of work and his current release. I watched the awards on TV5 and had the pleasure of watching Julian Schnabel accept his LOL lifetime achievement award for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Here is the complete list of winners – with titles to retain for the near future.



Palme d’Or: “4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days,” Cristian Mungiu, (Romania)
Grand Prix : “The Mourning Forest,” Naomi Kawase, (France-Japan)
60th Anniversary Prize : Gus Van Sant (“Paranoid Park,” France-U.S.)
Screenplay: Fatih Akin (“The Edge of Heaven,” Germany-Turkey)
Director: Julian Schnabel (“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” France)
Actor: Konstantin Lavronenko (“The Banishment,” Russia)
Actress: Jeon Do-yeon (“Secret Sunshine,” South Korea)
Jury Prize (shared) “Persepolis” (Marjane Satrapi, Vincent Paronnaud, France-U.S.) “Silent Light” (Carlos Reygadas, Mexico-France-Netherlands)
Palme d’Or: “Watching It Rain” (Elisa Miller, Mexico)
Special Mentions: “Run” (Mark Albiston, New Zealand) “Grandma” (Anthony Chen, Singapore)

Grand Prix : “California Dreamin’ (Endless) (Cristian Nemescu, Romania)
Special Jury Prize: “Actresses” (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, France)
Coup de Coeur Award: “The Band’s Visit” (Eran Kolirin, Israel-U.S.-France)

Camera d’Or: “Jellyfish” (Etgar Keret, Shira Geffen, Israel-France)
Special Mention: “Control” (Anton Corbijn, U.K.-Australia-Japan)

First Prize:
“Now Everybody Seems to be Happy” (Gonzalo Tobal, Argentina)
Second Prize: “Way Out” (Chen Tao, China)
Third Prize: (shared) “A Reunion” (Hong Sung-hoon, South Korea) “Minus” (Pavle Vuckovic, Serbia)

Grand Prix: “XXY” (Lucia Puenzo, Argentina-Spain-France)
SACD Prize: “Jellyfish.”
ACID/CCAS Support Award: “XXY.”
OFAJ/TV5Monde (Very)Young Critic Award: “Jellyfish.”
Canal Plus Award for Best Short Film: “Madame Tutli-Putli” (Chris Lavis, Maciek Szczerbowski, Canada)
Kodak Discovery Award for Best Short Film: “Um ramo” (Juliana Rojas, Marco Dutra, Brazil)

Ecumenical Award: “The Edge of Heaven.”
Fipresci Awards (intl. critics’ assn.)
“4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days” (Competition)
“The Band’s Visit” (Un Certain Regard)
“Her Name Is Sabine” (Directors’ Fortnight)

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at, 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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