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Malick’s Tree of Life Wins Palme d’Or

22 May 2011 12:28 PM, PDT

<p><a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000517/"></a><a href="http://new.blog.imdb.net/files/2011/05/tree.jpg"><img class="alignleft size-full wp-image-2995" src="http://new.blog.imdb.net/files/2011/05/tree.jpg" alt="" width="140" height="220" /></a>Terrence Malick&#8217;s much loved and much despised film,<em> <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0478304/">The Tree of Life</a></em>, starring <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000093/">Brad Pitt</a> and <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1567113/">Jessica Chastain</a>, with what is essentially a cameo by <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000576/">Sean Penn</a>, won the Palme d&#8217;Or the Cannes Jury announced today. The notoriously reclusive director was not on hand to receive the prize.&lt;p&gt;</p> <p><a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000379/">Kirsten Dunst</a> took the top prize for<em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1527186/">Melancholia</a></em>, <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0241121/">Jean Dujardin</a> for<em> </em><em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1655442/">The Artist</a></em>, in the acting categories.<br /> <em><br /> </em><em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1827512/">Le Gamin Au Vielo</a> (aka: </em><em>The Kid With a Bike)</em>, by the Dardenne brothers tied with <em>Once Upon a Time in Anatolia</em> by Nuri Bilge Ceylan&#8217;s for the Grand Prix, while actress/director <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0494069/">Maïwenn</a>&#8216;s <em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1661420/">Polisse</a></em> took home the Prix du Jury.</p> <p>Here&#8217;s the winners from the press release</p> <p><strong>FEATURE FILMS</strong></p> <p><strong>Palme d&#8217;Or:</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0478304/">The Tree of Life</a> by <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000517/">Terrence Malick</a></p> <p><strong>Grand Prix:</strong></p> <p><em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1827487/">Bir Zamanlar Anadolu&#8217;da</a></em> (Once Upon A Time In Anatolia) by <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0149196/">Nuri Bilge Ceylan</a></p> <p><em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1827512/">Le Gamin Au Vielo</a> (aka: </em><em>The Kid With a Bike)</em> by<a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0201094/">Jean-Pierre Dardenne</a> &amp; <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0201095/">Luc Dardenne</a></p> <p><strong>Award for the Best Director:</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0716347/">Nicolas Winding Refn</a> for <em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0780504/">Drive</a></em></p> <p><strong>Jury Prize</strong></p> <p><em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1661420/">Polisse</a> </em>by <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0494069/">Maïwenn</a><em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1661420/"></a></em></p> <p><strong>Best Performance for an Actor</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0241121/">Jean Dujardin</a> in<em> </em><em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1655442/">The Artist</a></em> by <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0371890/">Michel Hazanavicius</a></p> <p><strong>Best Performance for an Actress</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000379/">Kirsten Dunst</a> in <em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1527186/">Melancholia</a></em>, by <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001885/">Lars von Trier</a></p> <p><strong>Award for the Best Screenplay</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0147737/">Joseph Cedar</a> for <em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1445520/">Hearat Shulayim</a> (aka: Footnote)<br /> </em></p> <p><strong>SHORT FILMS IN COMPETTION</strong></p> <p><strong>Palme d&#8217;Or</strong></p> <p>Cross-Country by Marina Vroda</p> <p><strong>Jury Prize</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1782395/">Badpakje 46</a> (aka Swimsuit 46) by <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm4193732/">Wannes Destoop</a></p> <p><strong>Camera d&#8217;Or</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1754078/">Las acacias</a> by <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0313652/">Pablo Giorgelli</a></p> <p><strong>UN CERTAIN REGARD</strong></p> <p><strong>PRIZE OF UN CERTAIN REGARD Ex-æquo</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1922551/">Arirang</a>, by <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1104118/">KIM ki-duk</a></p> <p><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></p> <p><strong>SPECIAL JURY PRIZE</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1925421/">Elena</a> by <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1168657/">Andrei Zvyagintsev</a></p> <p><strong>DIRECTING PRIZE</strong></p> <p><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)</p> <p><strong>CINEFONDATION</strong></p> <p><strong>First Cinéfondation Prize</strong></p> <p>Der Brief (The Letter) by Doroteya Droumeva</p> <p><strong>Second Cinéfondation Prize</strong><br /> Drari by Kamal Lazraq<br /> La Fémis, France</p> <p><strong>Third Cinéfondation Prize</strong><br /> Ya-Gan-bi-Hang (Fly by Night) by Son Tae-gyum<br /> Chung-Ang University, South Korea</p> »

- keithsim

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Cannes – Un Certain Regard: 2011

21 May 2011 12:45 PM, PDT

<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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Cannes Controversy: 2011 Edition

19 May 2011 2:35 PM, PDT

<p><a href="http://new.blog.imdb.net/files/2011/05/von3.jpg"><img class="alignleft size-full wp-image-3030" src="http://new.blog.imdb.net/files/2011/05/von3.jpg" alt="" width="262" height="254" /></a>In my Cannes: 101 post I said of <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001885/">Lars Von Trier</a>: &#8220;I find many of his films to be, at once, strikingly beautiful and assured, yet intellectually simplistic and misanthropic on their best days Melancholia&#8217;s trailer makes it look like it may actually be watchable.&#8221; I had included &#8220;fascistic&#8221; in that string of adjectives but I removed it because I thought it inflammatory. Dammit.</p> <p>Von Trier&#8217;s logorrhoea at the press conference for <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1527186/">Melancholia</a>, where he pronounced himself a &#8220;Nazi&#8221; exposed him and his thought processes for what films like <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0276919/">Dogville</a> suggested, an autocrat with delusions of godhood with a moral compass that allowed for the worst of ideologies to become dogma (pun intended). One might also just say &#8220;a director&#8221; but Von Trier&#8217;s verbal vomiting, which he now excuses as a joke&#8211;and some of it certainly was meant to be merely outrageous&#8211; most certainly revealed his inner workings as he proceeded down the rabbit hole of his mind. He started out referring to himself as a &#8220;Nazi&#8221; but it was in the context of equating it with being of German descent (questionable anyway). He went on:</p> <p>Of Hitler: &#8220;I think I understand the man. He’s not what I would call a good guy, but I understand much about him, and I sympathize with him a little. But come on – I’m not for the Second World War.  And I’m not against Jews – (Jewish filmmaker) Susanne Biers, no not even Susanne Bier  - that was also a joke.&#8221;</p> <p>Of Israel: &#8220;I&#8217;m very much for Jews. No, not too much for Jews because the Israelis are a pain in the ass.&#8221;</p> <p>After this last bit he began to look for an out: &#8220;How do I get out of this sentence?&#8221; he asked.</p> <p>The moderator attempted to help him by interrupting him: &#8220;By asking another question. Here&#8217;s your salvation.&#8221;</p> <p>But Von Trier had committed himself, shifting to other Nazis he admired, like Albert Speer. &#8220;He was also maybe one of God&#8217;s best children.&#8221; I&#8217;ll be charitable and say that it sounds like he inadvertently dropped a &#8220;not&#8221; from the context. The director went on: &#8220;But (laughing) he had some talent that was possible for him to use when&#8230;(dropping all pretense)..Okay, I&#8217;m a Nazi.&#8221;</p> <p>This caused the festival, in a move that was very dramatic and very French to declare von Trier a &#8220;persona non grata.&#8221;</p> <p>“The Festival de Cannes provides artists from around the world with an exceptional forum to present their works and defend freedom of expression and creation. The Festival’s Board of Directors, which held an extraordinary meeting this Thursday 19 May 2011, profoundly regrets that this forum has been used by Lars Von Trier to express comments that are unacceptable, intolerable, and contrary to the ideals of humanity and generosity that preside over the very existence of the Festival.</p> <p>&#8220;The Board of Directors firmly condemns these comments and declares Lars Von Trier a persona non grata at the Festival de Cannes, with effect immediately.&#8221;</p> <p>I must say that I won&#8217;t look forward to the day when the festival rescinds this declaration. I give it five years.</p> »

- keithsim

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Tree of Life

16 May 2011 6:57 AM, PDT

<p><a href="http://new.blog.imdb.net/files/2011/05/tree.jpg"><img class="alignleft size-full wp-image-2995" src="http://new.blog.imdb.net/files/2011/05/tree.jpg" alt="" width="140" height="220" /></a>Terrence Malick&#8217;s <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0478304/">The Tree of Life</a> premiered at Cannes Monday morning and it immediately became controversial.As the film ended several boors in the audience booed the film. There was also some who applauded the film loudly. Side conversations in the halls outside included people snickering to one another, like delinquents leaving the office of the vice-principal who has warned them about their life choices.</p> <p>Those snickering critics were wrong.<em>The Tree of  Life</em> is not only one of the most beautiful films I&#8217;ve ever seen, it may be one of the most audacious and Malick&#8217;s greatest. It is deeply religious in the best sense of the word, running the gamut from the creation of the universe (yes, there are dinosaurs), to the clean, innocent start of life, to the onset of wisdom and rebellion, to the eventual acceptance of the evanescent nature of life. Of course, there&#8217;s inherent risk with tackling subjects of that breadth and scope.</p> <p>The plot follows a father (<a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000093/">Brad Pitt</a>), a mother (<a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1567113/">Jessica Chastain</a>), as they raise their three sons in Waco, Texas. We later see the oldest son (<a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000576/">Sean Penn</a>) as a very conflicted adult.</p> <p>It starts, however, with the quote from God in the book of Job after Job demands that God explain to him why he&#8211;a good man&#8211;is being punished with all sorts of calamities. God&#8217;s rejoinder, essentially a rebuke, is to ask Job just where was he when he was busy creating the whole universe.</p> <p>Then Malick, with shocking cheek, decides to show us just how that all came about.</p> <p>It&#8217;s a bit ironic that, it&#8217;s actually Malick creating the universe, raising the hoary head of director-as-deity/auteur and actually contradicting his point of a god-centered versus human-centered world, but he&#8217;s a benevolent deity at least.  Malick views life with reverence and it&#8217;s suffused through every frame of <em>Tree</em>. The accompanying score by <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0006035/">Alexandre Desplat</a> is sumptuous and nearly gothic (reminding me at points of <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062622/">2001: A Space Odyssey</a>). The cinematography by <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0523881/">Emmanuel Lubezki</a> is painterly; each frame is rich in texture and depth.</p> <p>Pitt&#8217;s performance, of a stern, fallible, loving father, is another notch in his belt proving him one of the greats of our time. Penn, well, Penn doesn&#8217;t get to do much. Chastain also fulfills her role in the film, that of the never-judging earth mother. She&#8217;s already big and she&#8217;s going to get bigger.</p> <p>Malick didn&#8217;t show up to Cannes and was roundly chided for it; people prayed he&#8217;d show up. People wanted answers. But Malick wisely realized that, much like real life, he couldn&#8217;t give simple, satisfactory answers to <em>The Tree of Life</em> and so, just like God, he let the work speak for itself.</p> »

- keithsim

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Cannes Continues

16 May 2011 4:59 AM, PDT

<p>Saturday was hit with a downpour just before the red carpet premiere of <em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1298650/">Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides</a>.</em> The rain let up but the movie was water-logged regardless.  Neither Depp nor a few imaginative moments could buoy this bloated, leaden, and meandering film. The swash is definitely out of the buckle.</p> <p>With Robert De Niro heading the jury a likely frontrunner for the Palme d&#8217;Or may be<em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1827512/"> Le Gamin Au Vielo (The Kid on a Bike)</a></em>, the new film from <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0201094/">Jean-Pierre</a> and <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0201095/">Luc Dardenne</a>. <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0208426/">Cécile De France</a> stars as a woman who decides to take very determined, very emotionally crushed child into her life. De Niro seems to have a soft spot for films where the protagonists has a lot of daddy issues and this one certainly does. Add also that The Dardennes have won the Palme before with <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0456396/">The Child</a> in 2005 and <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0200071/">Rosetta</a> in 1999.<a href="http://new.blog.imdb.net/files/2011/05/velo.jpg"><img class="alignright size-full wp-image-2980" src="http://new.blog.imdb.net/files/2011/05/velo.jpg" alt="" width="400" height="266" /></a><a href="http://new.blog.imdb.net/files/2011/05/velo.jpg"> </a></p> <p><em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1655442/">The Artist</a>, </em>directed by <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0371890/">Michel Hazanavicius</a> (the guy who did <em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0464913/">OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies</a></em> and its sequel) is a nearly entirely silent film that has a number of clever conceits and has become the talk of the town. With<em> <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0047522/">A Star Is Born</a></em> storyline (hot actor&#8217;s career falls while his protege/lover&#8217;s rises) and two very likeable leads, <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0241121/">Jean Dujardin</a> and <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0067367/">Bérénice Bejo</a> (both from <em>OSS</em> as well) the film has become the unexpected talk of the festival. The Weinstein Company acquired the property and are very excited about it.</p> <p><em><a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1911600/">Miss Bala</a>, </em>which is in the Un Certain Regard category, starts out well but becomes an overly long muddle; it&#8217;s one  of those films where, when you watch a scene where a truck is heading out into the desert at night, it&#8217;s shot from the top of the cab where the beams are and it goes on for over a minute. It concerns a beauty contestant who, by being in the wrong place at the wrong time, gets involved in with a Tijuana drug lord.<em></em> I hate it when that happens.<br /> <em>by Keith Simanton<br /> </em></p> »

- keithsim

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