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THE CANNES VICTORS: 3 BURIALS, 2 BROTHERS & 1 ZAFTIG ISRAELI TAXI DRIVER

 


TWO BELGIANS WIN TOP PRIZE AT CANNES FOR SECOND TIME

By MANOHLA DARGIS and A. O. SCOTT
The New York Times, 5/22/05


"The Child," a Belgian film directed by Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne, won the Palme d'Or as best film at the 58th Cannes Film Festival on Saturday night. The film, which follows a young petty thief as he struggles with the moral dilemmas of fatherhood, was inspired by Dostoyevsky's "Crime and Punishment" and influenced by the classic French film "Pickpocket," by Robert Bresson. This is the second time the Dardenne brothers have won the festival's top prize; "Rosetta," their harsh look at work and unemployment in Belgium, took the award in 1999.

Paternity was a theme of more than one of this year's winning films, and of many that did not win. The jury, which included the Nobel Prize-winning writer Toni Morrison and the actors Javier Bardem and Salma Hayek, gave its Grand Prix, the festival's second-highest award, to Jim Jarmusch for "Broken Flowers," a comically poignant portrait of a middle-aged Lothario (Bill Murray) searching for a son he did not know he had.

Mr. Jarmusch, in his acceptance speech, called the jury "strange" and acknowledged a number of other directors in the competition, including Gus Van Sant, Atom Egoyan and Hou Hsiao-hsien, whom Mr. Jarmusch called his teacher.

The Jury Prize, a kind of honorable mention, was given to "Shanghai Dreams," Wang Xiaoshuai's tale of proletarian unhappiness in provincial China in the early 1980's.

The prize for best male performance, in a year of strong contenders (including Mr. Murray, Viggo Mortensen in David Cronenberg's "History of Violence," Kevin Bacon in Mr. Egoyan's "Where the Truth Lies" and Jérémie Renier in "The Child"), went to Tommy Lee Jones for "The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada," which he also directed.

In addition, that film earned Guillermo Arriaga the screenwriting award. "The Three Burials" is about a modern Texas cowboy (Mr. Jones, speaking both Spanish and English) on a mission to bury and avenge his murdered friend, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico.

 

 

 

 

America was clearly on the minds of many filmmakers in the competition, including the Danish director Lars von Trier, who has never set foot on American soil, and the German director Wim Wenders, who has lived in the United States for many years. Neither Mr. von Trier's entry, "Manderlay," his follow-up to "Dogville," nor Mr. Wenders's "Don't Come Knocking," which revisits some of the themes he explored in "Paris, Texas," won any prizes, though both directors have won Palmes in the past.

The jury selected Hanna Laslo as the festival's best actress for her role in the Israeli director Amos Gitai's "Free Zone." Ms. Laslo, who plays a brusque Israeli taxi driver in the film (which also stars Natalie Portman), shared her prize with her mother, a Holocaust survivor, and with the victims from "both sides" in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"Free Zone" was one of many films in the festival that engaged contemporary issues directly rather than through allegory. Similarly, Mr. Jones's film, in spite of poetic and symbolic flourishes, concerns itself with problems on the border of the United States and Mexico. And "The Child," in spite of its literary pedigree, is grounded in the brutal conditions of poor and disenfranchised citizens of modern Europe.

Contemporary European social issues were as much a theme at Cannes this year as American policy and politics. The Director's Prize went to the Austrian director Michael Haneke (who now works mainly in France) for "Hidden," which touches on France's long, painful involvement in Algeria. The film, which stars Juliette Binoche and Daniel Auteuil, was a critical favorite. It was acquired for North American distribution by Sony Pictures Classics.

The Caméra d'Or, for the best first feature, went to two films: "The Forsaken Land," directed by Vimukthi Jayasundara, about a small group of people living in a desolate part of Sri Lanka; and Miranda July's "Me, You and Everyone We Know," a quirky look at life in Los Angeles, where everyone seems to be lonely as well as odd.

 

FOR THE RECORD, HERE'S WHAT PLAYED AT CANNES 2005

IN COMPETITION

BASHING Japan, Masahiro Kobayashi

BATTLE IN THE SKY Mexico, Carlos Reygadas

THE BEST OF OUR TIMES Taiwan-Japan, Hou Hsiao-Hsien

BROKEN FLOWERS France-U.S., Jim Jarmusch
Click here for the Variety review.

CACHE (HIDDEN) France-Austria-Germany-Italy, Michael Haneke Click here for the Variety review.

DON'T COME KNOCKING Germany-France, Wim Wenders

ELECTION Hong Kong, Johnny To

L'ENFANT
(THE CHILD) Belgium, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne Click here for the Variety review.

FREE ZONE Israel-Belgium, Amos Gitai
Click here for the Variety review.

A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE U.S.-Canada, David Cronenberg

KILOMETRE ZERO Iraq, Hiner Saleem

LAST DAYS U.S., Gus Van Sant

LEMMING France, Dominik Moll

MANDERLAY Denmark-Sweden-Netherland, Lars Von Trier

QUANDRO SEI NATO NON PUOI PIU NASCONDERTI Italy, Marco Tullio Giordana

PEINDRE OU FAIRE L'AMOUR France, Arnaud and Jean-Marie Larrieu

SHANGHAI DREAMS China, Wang Xiaoshuai

SIN CITY U.S., Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez

THE THREE BURIALS OF MELQUIADES ESTRADA U.S., Tommy Lee Jones Click here for the Variety review.

WHERE THE TRUTH LIES Canada, Atom Egoyan


OUT OF COMPETITION

CHROMOPHOBIA France-U.S.-U.K., Martha Fiennes Click here for the Variety review.

JOYEUX NOEL France-Germany-UK-Belgium, Christian Carion

MATCH POINT UK, Woody Allen Click here for the Variety review.

STAR WARS: EPISODE III--REVENGE OF THE SITH
U.S., George Lucas Click here for A. O. Scott's New York Times review; click here for Anthony Lane's New Yorker review.

A BITTERSWEET LIFE South Korea, Kim Jee-woon

KISS, KISS, BANG, BANG U.S., Shane Black

LAND OF THE DEAD U.S., George Romero

MIDNIGHT MOVIES Stuart Samuels

THE ARTISTES OF THE BURNT THEATER Cambodia-France, Rithy Panh

C'EST PAS TOUT A FAIT LA VIE DONT J'AVAIS REVE France, Michel Piccoli

CROSSING THE BRIDGE Germany, Fatih Akin

NEKAM ACHAT MISHTEY EYNAY Israel, Avi Mograbi

THE POWER OF NIGHTMARES U.K., Adam Curtis

PRINCESS RACCOON Japan, Seijun Suzuki

CIDADE BAIXA Brazil, Sergio Machado

MOVIES, ASPIRIN AND VULTURES
Brazil, Marcelo Gomes

GET UP AND WALK Burkino Faso, S. Pierre Yameogo

DOWN IN THE VALLEY U.S., David Jacobson

LOW PROFILE Germany, Christoph Hochhausler

LE FILMEUR France, Alain Cavalier

HWAL South Korea-Japan, Kim Ki-duk

JEWBOY Australia, Tony Kravitz

JOHANNA Hungary, Kornel Mundruczo

THE KING U.S.-U.K., James Marsh

THE DEATH OF DOMNULUI LAZARESCU Romania, Cristi Puiu

NORTH EAST France-Argentina-Belgium, Juan Solanas

BLOOD Mexico, Amat Escalante

SLEEPERS Austria, Benjamin Heisenberg

TAWA DURA YANNA Sri Lanka, Vimukthi Jayasundara

LE TEMPS QUI RESTE France, Francois Ozon

THE FORGOTTEN FOREST Japan, Kohei Oguri

GROWN UP PEOPLE Denmark, Dagur Kari

ONE NIGHT Iran, Niki Karimi

YELLOW FELLA Australia, Ivan Sen

ZIM AND CO. France, Pierre Jolivet