OK, the 2010 Cannes Film Festival is over. As always, people bemoan the quality of the 30 or so films they manage to see during the 12 days of the fest. And as always, I'm walking away with four or five movies that will make my best of the year list when they're released in the US, a few more I want to see a second time before making up my mind and another three or four I was sorry I missed. Here are the awards, then the movies I saw rated on a four star scale and in order of basic preference. That's followed by gossip, news items and observations and it ends with links to all the coverage I provided.
Palme d'Or -- Uncle Boonmee Who can Recall His Past Lives
Grand Prize (runner-up) -- Of Gods And Men
Jury Prize (third place) -- A Screaming Man
Best Director -- Mathieu Amalric for Tournee
Best Actor (tie) -- Javier Bardem for Biutiful and Elio Germano for A Nostra Vita
Best Actress -- Juliette Binoche for Certified Copy
Best Screenplay -- Lee Chang-dong for Poetry
Camera d'Or (best first film) -- Leap Year
Un Certain Regard -- HaHaHa
Directors' Fortnight -- Lily Sometimes
Critics' Week -- Armadillo
Queer Palm -- Gregg Araki's Kaboom
THE FILMS OF THE FESTIVAL -- out of four stars
Another Year *** 1/2
Hai Shang Chuan Qi/I Wish I Knew *** 1/2
Carlos *** 1/2
Blue Valentine (debuted at Sundance) *** 1/2
Inside Job *** 1/2
Somos Lo Que Hay/We Are What We Are ***
Ha'meshotet/The Wanderer ***
Un Poison Violent/Love Like Poison ***
Benda Bilili ***
Lung Boonmee Raluek Chat/Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives ** 1/2
Les Amours Imaginaires/Heartbeats ** 1/2
La Nostra Vita ** 1/2
Des Hommes Et Des Dieux/Of Gods And Men ** 1/2
Armadillo ** 1/2
Poetry ** 1/2
Boxing Gym ** 1/2
Stones In Exile ** 1/2
Route Irish ** 1/2
Hors La Loi/Outside The Law ** 1/2
Copie Conforme/Certified Copy **
Robin Hood **
Fair Game **
You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger **
La Princesse De Montpensier **
Schastye Moe/My Joy **
Belle Epine **
The Tree **
Un Homme Qui Crie/A Screaming Man **
Aurora * 1/2 (but very good lead performance)
Tamara Drewe * 1/2
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps * 1/2
Countdown To Zero * 1/2
Szelid Teremtes: A Frankenstein Terv/Tender Son: A Frankenstein Tale * 1/2
The Housemaid * (but what a bat-crazy ending)
Burnt By The Sun 2: The Exodus *
La Casa Muda *
41 films in all
BOOKS I READ DURING CANNES AND TO PREPARE FOR THE FEST
Fair Game by Valerie Plame Wilson **
The Big Short by Michael Lewis ***
Appaloosa by Robert B. Parker ***
A Savage War Of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962 by Alastair Horne *** 1/2
Tamara Drewe by Posy Simmonds **
The Princess Of Cleves by Madame DeLafayette *** 1/2
Fool's Gold by Gillian Tett *** 1/2
The Cistercian World: Monastic Writings of the Twelfth Century edited by Pauline Matarasso
WORST INTERVIEW OF THE FEST
Mike Leigh, both at his press conference (where he refused to take a question from a Times of London reporter who had panned him in the past and done a profile that perhaps Leigh felt was unprofessional) and especially for the Hollywood Reporter.
Q: Can you tell me about Another Year? (his film in Competition which hadn't screened yet and the promotion of which was the purpose of the interview)
A: No, absolutely not.
Another question, about the admittedly tiny increase in the tiny UK lottery funding of film up to 10 million pounds and whether that was good prompted Leigh to say, "That's another stupid question" or some such thing. Frankly, his gruffness and no-b.s. meter makes me want to interview him all the more. It would be a challenge and a pleasure.
BEST QUOTE ABOUT SEX AND VIOLENCE IN FILM
The film company Wild Bunch quickly and forcefully acted to squash any impression that it was getting all Harvey Weinstein on director Nikita Mikhalkov because the Russian's cut of his movie Burnt By The Sun 2: Exodus was more than half an hour shorter than the version that played in his home country. (Mind you, it was still 2 and a half hours long.) But what really infuriated the suits at Wild Bunch was the suggestion that they would cut a topless scene of a beautiful young actress. "We've never cut a topless scene in any film," Vincent Maraval told Screen International. "At Wild Bunch, we love nudity and blood."
WORST EXAMPLE OF BEING TRUE TO FORM
Mick Jagger kept everyone on rock and roll time for the screening of the documentary film Stones in Exile, which started almost an hour late, throwing off our schedule for the rest of the evening, when almost every other screening runs like clockwork. On the other hand, his French was charming. So all will be forgiven if he'll just let them release Cocksucker Blues.
BEST OVERHEARD CONVERSATION
One of my roommates was on Skype having a video chat with his 9 year old daughter back in New York.
Daughter: Daddy, you're seeing a lot of films, right?
Daughter: So...have you seen Marmaduke yet?
Dad: No, honey. Marmaduke didn't make it past the selection committee at Cannes.
BEST DISCUSSION OF CURSING IN FILM
From a Hollywood Reporter Q&A with Stephen Frears about his well-received comedy Tamara Drewe.
The Hollywood Reporter: The word c--t is in the film on at least two notable occasions. Is it a word you feel emboldens a script?
Frears: You're allowed two. I would have liked three. If you only have two you get an '15' certificate for a comedy from the British Board of Film Classification. If you have three, you get the next one up, an '18.' We had to decide which one of the three to remove and when I saw the cut with one taken out I didn't notice it had gone. Which perhaps speaks to it not being necessary. As to whether or not it emboldens a script, I don't think it makes a blind bit of difference. It's not a word I feel necessitates debate.
BEST SHOW OF ANGER BY A FRIEND OF THE DIRECTOR
In a screening of the three hour long film The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu,, seated in the area reserved for people associated with the film was an elderly woman, who one imagined was either the mother of the director or, who knows, a relative of Ceausescu himself. Invariably, people don't stay for an entire film, especially one that's so long: they may have a meeting to attend or an interview to conduct and simply wanted to get an idea of what the film was like. But every time someone stood up to leave, this woman would gesture with fury at them for daring to go. And the more people that left (it wasn't a particularly well-reviewed film, I'm afraid), the angrier she would get. Bets were placed, but unfortunately she didn't confront anyone or trip them up as they walked by.
WORST BOOK TO BRING TO A GREGG ARAKI FILM
I always bring a book along to every screening. Half an hour in line or spent seated in a theater is just another chance to do some reading as far as I'm concerned. But I don't often think about the combination of the two. Then I went to a screening of Gregg Araki's pansexual, sci-fi, cult crazy, lesbian witch college sex comedy Kaboom. People were unnerved, amused or just plain discombobulated by the book I was reading. So okay, The Cistercian World: Monastic Writings of the Twelfth Century probably did seem a little odd. But you think an audience waiting to see a film about vengeful lesbian witches and the mystical son of a cult leader with psychic abilities who must save the world from nuclear annihilation would be a little more open-minded. Geez.
MOST HEARTBREAKING MOMENT IN A MOVIE
In La Nostra Vita, we see our hero and his wife playfully singing along to a pop song in bed. When she unexpectedly dies, Claudio (deserved Best Actor co-winner Elio Germano) attends her funeral in a shaken mood. Suddenly he begins belting out the song at the top of his voice. The rest of the mourners are awkward and moved, but he continues singing in a passionate howl and slowly they begin to sing along as well, in an equally violent burst of emotion. The camera stays on Claudio as he sings and sings, pouring out every bitter, angry, loving emotion in a cry of despair. It's funny, moving, awkward and as raw and real as anything I'll see this year.
MY COVERAGE OF THE FESTIVAL FOR HUFFINGTON POST
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