The first few days of the Cannes Film Festival have been marked by surprises -- whether in the shifting national identity of movies, or peace-making efforts between towering directors -- and parties that defy the rain.
In a room full of stars, at a time in which the United States and Israel contemplated possible military strikes, crippling sanctions and Iran's nuclear ambitions, an Iranian man created a counter-narrative as Hollywood awarded him a Golden Globe, which he received from Madonna on stage.
Unsuspectingly, Sunday night's Academy Awards turned into a kind of prism of global politics as Oscars were given out to Iranian and Pakistani films as well as to a film produced by a French director with French actors financed with French subsidies.
To say that the 75-minute documentary radically changed my viewpoint on some modern-day dogmas would be an understatement and all the while managing to make me laugh, cry and relish in the wonder of Panahi's world
I saw 50 of the 63 films entered in the Best Foreign Language Film category and I am happy to report that this was an exceptionally good year. If no single masterpiece stood out, there were a couple dozen good films that I would recommend for film fans of various tastes.