Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Cannes - Until next year

“I think that film is a language everyone can speak with their own accent.”
Abderrahmane Sissako.

First of all, let’s do a recap of this year’s Cannes winners.

Semaine de la Critique
The Tribe. By Ukrainian director Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy.

Just give it all to Thomas Cailley and his film Les Combattants.
He and his film became the first to win all three awards at the section of Quinzaine des Réalisateurs.
Art Cinema Award
SACD Prize (French Language Films)
Europa Cinemas Label (European Entries)

AND it also won the FIPRESCI Award.

The International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) winning selections films were distributed with three prizes:
Official Competition:
"Winter Sleep" ("Kis Uykusu") by Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Un Certain Regard: 
"Jauja" by Lisandro Alonso
Parallel Sections:
"Love at First Fight" ("Les Combattants") by Thomas Cailley (shown in the Directors' Fortnight)
This year's international jury members:
Esin Kücüktepepinar, Turkey, president
Jean-Michel Frodon, France
Pierre Pageau, Canada
Paola Casella, Italy
Tereza Brdeckova (Czech Republic)
Olivier Pélisson, France
Alissa Simon, USA
Richard Mowe, UK
Frédéric Jaeger, Germany
Coordination: Pamela Biénzobas, Chile/France

The winners of the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival:
Prize of Un Certain Regard
"Fehér Isten" ("White God") by 
Kornél Mundruczó
Jury Prize
"Tourist" by by Ruben Östlund
Un Certain Regard Special Prize
"The Salt of the Earth" 
by Wim Wenders and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado
Ensemble Prize
"Party Girl" by Marie Amachoukeli, Claire Burger and Samuel Theis
Prize of the Best Actor
David Gulpill in "Charlie's Country" by Rolf de Heer

The Queer Palme
Pride, The British period drama.

“Power is often a cover for vulnerability.”

And finally the big ones:
Palme D’Or Best Short film
Leidu by Simó Mesa Soto
A Colombia/United Kingdom production with fifteen minutes of duration.

Short Films Special Distinctions
Aissa by Clément Trehin-Lalanne. A French Film.
Ja Vielsker by Hallvar Witzo. Norway.

PARTY GIRL BY Marie Amachoukeli-Barsacq, Claire Burger and Samuel Theis.

Timothy Spall, Mr Turner.
Julianne Moore, Maps to the Stars.

LEVIATHAN, Oleg Negin and Andrey Zvyagintsev.

MOMMY,  Xavier Dolan.

Benett Miller, Foxcatcher.

The Wonders, Alice Rohrwacher.


Women Stories (Male tellers)

Clouds of Sils Maria
This is the other film where the story revolves around the show business, the Hollywood system, the actors, but especially the female perspective. Map to the Stars is obviously the other one. There are a couple of things I’m having issues with.
Juliette Binoche was the one who came up with the idea a few years ago and contacted the director. This is prominently a women’s story. First of all, I wished she had written it herself. This film becomes another example of women’s perspectives written by men. I can’t really say much else about the film because I obviously haven’t seen it. All I know is that Juliette Binoche is just this inspiring woman, she has this brightness, this light and I believe she’s a great example of a working actress that stands well beyond the ideas the film explores about actresses and age and self centeredness and awareness. Just watch the press conference and you’ll get it. She’s awesome.
Other films with women on the center of the story are The Homesman, directed by Tommy Lee Jones, a western lead by women; Marion Cotillard in Deux Jeux, une nuit, we can also add here Leviathan and Mommy. The Search, with Berenice Bejo at the center as well.

Women stories directed by women we have The Wonders, In Competition. Things are a little bit 'more spread' at Un Certain Regard, with five films directed by women, not all necessarily with women as the center of the story. None of them won any awards. It’s the women’s agenda, some say. The General Delegate of the Festival, Thierry Fremaux, seems annoyed by the consistent way the women’s issue is addressed at Cannes; he thinks that we’re using the Festival, especially when it’s not exclusively a Cannes’ issue. He’s partially right that it is not an issue only present at Cannes, of course not, it’s universal. It’s pretty much everywhere. So why not talk about it at Cannes? Especially if it is the world’s biggest film festival? Then why not defend an important issue? Doesn’t it matter to the festival, to show fairness in the film world? Isn’t what the festivals are all about? Because by addressing this issue, by bringing more fairness, I am absolutely positive that we will get more diverse stories, more original stories, more quality films in general. 

Last year, a story about two young women’s love life together won the Palme d’Or. It was three hours long, a minimalist story of a young girl’s desires, about women sexuality (I guess) and also with bits on the French social classes and art. This year, another film with more than three hours long won. It’s pretty much about everything, some say, mainly dialogue driven. And maybe because of that, some say it is a pretentious or even boring. But at the end, it did win the Jury over. I don’t think La Vie D’Adèle is a successful film in general, but there are a few good things about it. It seems Winter Sleep may have its challenges as well. But like Nicolas Winding Refn mentioned in an interview, he isn’t looking for perfection, he is more interesting in imperfection.
So what do we have to look for over the next year or so…From a film about deaf teenagers with no subtitles whatsoever called The Tribe; basically a bunch of coming of age stories like Respire and Les Combattants or Still the Water. Social dramas and society revelations and intellectual observations like Winter Sleep, Leviathan and Timbuktu or something told through short stories like Wild Tales. Biographies of Saint Laurent and Mr. Turner. Dogs take over the country in White God. A Francophone Romeo and Juliet called Geronimo. Hollywood satires like Maps to the Stars. Murders in Foxcatcher. Italian films directed by women like The Wonders and Misunderstood. And films about women written by men.
What’s incredible about Cannes is that despite all the buzz and glamour, especially in Cannes, the stories (represented in the films of course) win the day. At the end, you’re just like ‘Wow…films, you know?’
Yes, films! Films films films! 

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