This was expected, and not because Robert De Niro, an American, who headed the jury, was expected to pick a co-national as the winner of the coveted prize, and also not because one of the candidates, Lars von Trier’s much commented upon “pro-Hitler” slippage. And also not since last year, Mallick, although much awaited, couldn’t bring his film to last year’s Cannes. And, finally, not because The Dardennes were bypassed in favour of the ultimate winner.
“The Tree of Life” is in line with one of the thematic directions at this good an edition as Cannes 2011 was. Doubtlessly, it deserved to win the top Cannes honour. Its director, Terrence Malick, did neither attend the festival nor did he come to pick his prize, leaving that pleasure to one of the film’s producers. This film is equally the work of a cinematographer and of a philosopher of the end of the world. It is a grandiosely and poetically shaped proposal rooted in the history and geography of America, emotional and nostalgic, a modern sensibility nonetheless. It was held as the new Space Odyssey, as if to confer an aura to this Cannes edition celebrating four decades since the premiere of “A Clockwork Orange” by Stanley Kubrick, who opened the series of those searches for the universe that incorporates and surrounds our planet.
However, one should also think of Lars von Trier’s sadness that his film, “Melancholia”, not a bad movie by any count, only got the Best Actress Award, who went to Kirsten Dust, an American too. One of the very last entries in the festival, “The Artist”, directed by Michel Hazanavicius, too, grabbed attention, thanks to the Best Actor Award won by Jean Dujardin.
The Cannes Grand Prix went to Bir Zamanlar’s “Once Upon A Time in Anatolia”, and “Le gamin au velo” directed by brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardennes, who have already won plenty of prizes at Cannes.
Nicolas Winding Refn was handed the Best Director Prize, while Maiwenn Le Besco received the Jury Award for the much contested, and praised at the same time, “Polisse”.
We can conclude this was a good edition of Cannes. Un Certain Regard section too showed some interesting films, among which “Loverboy”, a film by Romanian Director Catalin Mitulescu, although some said the film was no news really. However, the way the Romanian director tells the story has a certain novelty element that can’t be denied. In the same section, it is worth noting the return of the Russian cinematography, with themes that once helped it made a name for itself.