21 May 2011 12:45 PM, PDT | IMDb Blog: Cannes Film Festival 2011 | See recent IMDb Blog: Cannes Film Festival 2011 news »

<p><a href="http://new.blog.imdb.net/files/2011/05/arirang.jpg"><img class="alignleft size-full wp-image-3053" src="http://new.blog.imdb.net/files/2011/05/arirang.jpg" alt="" width="400" height="225" /></a>I made it through about twenty minutes of <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1922551/">Arirang</a>, by director <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1104118/">KIM ki-duk</a>, before I had to run to another appointment (I was in the back, on the aisle, to minimize disruption) so I can&#8217;t really speak to the choice of it sharing the prize of Un Certain Regard, with <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1780856/">Halt auf Freier Strecke</a> (Stopped on Track) by director <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0237527/">Andreas Dresen</a>. The reviews of Arirang, such as the one found in Variety, however, seemed to confirm my rising suspicion in the over quarter-of-an-hour that the film was a long bit of navel-gazing mixed in with liberal amounts of self-pity. Half Alf Freir Strecke deals with a man facing a terminal illness.</p> <p>But Un Certain Regard  has always been the artier, more aesthete category at Cannes, which is saying something.</p> <p>Arirang was written, directed and stars KIM ki-duk. From what I watched and have subsequently read, it consists almost solely of watching the director go about a very hermetic existence. We watch him eat, we watch him sleep. We watch a cat he has meow with the most wretched &#8220;meow&#8221; in recorded history. We watch KIM&#8217;s sleep get interrupted by someone knocking at the door. We watch him answer the door. We watch him look around as his porch is empty. We watch him go back to bed only to be interrupted by more knocking and by a still mysteriously empty porch. It goes on like this.</p> <p>The directing prize went to <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1488024/">Mohammad Rasoulof</a> for <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1926992/">Bé omid é didar</a> (Au revoir). The film, according to the Cannes guide, is about a young female lawyer whose journalist husband has gone into hiding. Thus, when she discovers that she&#8217;s pregnant she faces a minefield of choices.</p> <p>A special jury prize went to <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1925421/">Elena</a> by <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1168657/">Andrei Zvyagintsev</a> (the guy who did <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0376968/">The Return</a>).</p> <p>The jury was a pretty eclectic bunch as it is. It comprised Serbian director/actor Emir Kusturica (jury president), actress Elodie Bouchez, Guardian critic Peter Bradshaw, Tribeca Chief Creative office Geoffrey Gilmore and Daniela Michel, director of the Morelia Festival in Mexico.</p> <p>Personally, I would have gone with <em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1911600/">Miss Bala</a>, </em>which, though overly long, is an assured feature by director <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1319671/">Gerardo Naranjo</a>. It concerns a beauty contestant who, by being in the wrong place at the wrong time, gets involved with a Tijuana drug lord.</p> »

- keithsim

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