The 68th edition of the International Film Festival in Cannes closed Sunday night with the award ceremony. As always, the list arouses the interest of specialists and critics, whose prognostics have been contradicted. The much commented during the festival Mia Madre by Nanni Moretti did not manage o climb up on the list of the Jury chaired by the Cohen (Joel and Ethan) brothers, but was nonetheless chosen as best movie by the Ecumenical Jury. There are other films that also did not confirm opinions expressed in daily comments.
But one could say that, the way the scorecard looks, this edition confirms the directions of the festival under its new management (Pierre Lescure –President; the experienced and documented Thierry Frémaux, as Delegate General), after being on the shoulders of the venerable Gilles Jacob for many years. Keeping the balance and enshrining the value line, the selection sought to impose universal themes, but also bring to the attention of the audience some new names, dropping some of the ‘subscribers’ to the festival, although they all deserve everybody’s respect. There is yet another thing to be stressed – without being homogeneous or brilliant, the French selection has had a prominent position this year, as proved by the places on the list of awards.
We will naturally begin with Jacques Audiard’s film (also awarded for other films at Cannes), that received the Palme d’Or this year. Called Dheepan, after his character, he relates in an emotional manner the tribulations of a former independence fighter in Sri Lanka, who came to France where he got shelter, a job, but where he has to cope with rather uncomfortable situations in an adverse social context, together with a young woman and their adopted child.
Present in two hypostases – as a director (opening the festival) and as an actress, the energetic Emmanuelle Bercot shares her best actress prize with Roiney Mara (Carol, directed by Todd Haynes). The French actress was appreciated for her part Tony, an energetic, tumultuous lady in Mon Roi by Maiwen.
His interpretation in The Mesure of a Man by the French Stéphane Brizé, especially applauded for his ability to give a cross section of the serious issues of contemporary society brought Vincent Lindon the prize for best actor. His speech when accepting the prize was one of the most applauded and emotional.
Films signed by artists from other cultural spaces were also awarded. The sumptuous film directed by the Taiwanese Hou Hsiao Hsien, The Assassin, obtained the prize for best director. The Jury chose to give its prize to the Greek Yorgos Lanthimos, who did a very savoury satire of the couple in The Lobster. The Mexican Michel Franco was chosen as the best author of a script for his film Chronic.
Although this is his first full length film, Laszlo Nemes gets the Grand Prix. His Son of Saul film brings on screen tragic moments of WWII. Saul, the Hungarian member of a Sonderkommando, discovers the corpse of his son and does everything he can to entomb him with the proper religious ceremonials.
In the Short Film section, the prize went to Waves`98 by Ely Dagher. Presented during the Week of the Critique,, La tierra y la sombra by the Columbian Cesar Augusto Acevedo brings on screen the story of Alfonso, an old peasant who returns to his childhood house after 17 years in order to take care of his sick son and save his family. The director received the Camera d`Or for his movie.
An edition with sad subjects, fatalities, relapsing illness, moments of mourning, closer than others to the tragic condition of the contemporary human being.