Cannes 2013: Where Blue is Warm…and Golden

27 May
Blue_is_the_Warmest_Color_poster

French-Tunisian director Abdellatif Kechiche is no stranger to laurels, having previously earned top honors for The Secret of the Grain (2007) and Games of Love and Chance (2003) at France’s annual Cesar Awards.

Here’s an update from the Festival de Cannes, which just wrapped for the season. Steven Spielberg headed this year’s jury, which also included Daniel Auteuil, Vidya Balan (India), Naomi Kawase (Japan),  Nicole Kidman, Ang Lee, Christian Mungiu (Romania), Lynne Ramsay (Great Britain), and Christoph Waltz.

  • Palme D’or (Golden Palm) for Best Picture: La vie d’Adèle Chaptire 1 & 2 (Blue is the Warmest Colour) directed by Abdellitif Kechiche (France)
  • Grand Prix: Inside Llewyn Davis directed by Joel and Ethan Coen (U.S.A.)
  • Award for Best Director: Amat Escalante for Heli (Mexico)
  • Best Actress: Bérénice Bejo for Les Passe (The Past, France)
  • Best Actor: Bruce Dern (Nebraska, U.S.A.)
  • Best Screenplay: Tia Zhu Ding (A Touch of Sin) by Jia Zhangke (China)
  • Caméra d’or (Golden Camera for Best First Film): Ilo Ilo directed by Anthony Chen (Singapore)
  • Jury Prize:  Soshite Chichi Ni Naru (Like Father, Like Son) directed by Kore-Eda Hirokazu (Japan)
  • Vulcain Prize for an artist technician, awarded by the C.S.T., 2013: Mahamat-Saleh Haroun for Grigris (Chad, France)

Last year’s big winner, Amour, went on to become a major Oscar contender with 5 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director (Michael Haneke), and Best Actress (Emmanuelle Riva), ultimately claiming the award for Best Foreign Language Film.  I dare say Blue is the Warmest Colour will be met as enthusiastically in this country. Oh sure, it’s almost three hours long, but that’s just the least of it. Sure, there is reportedly a lot of–graphic–lesbian sex, and that doesn’t have to be a deal breaker either, but audiences might take issue with the sexual relationship between a 17 year old girl and a woman at least a decade older. Yikes!  Again, I don’t know how how well this will play in the states.

On the other hand, I’m definitely looking forward to the latest from the Coens, which examines the wonderful world of folk music–as only the Coens can–starring Oscar Isaac as the title character, along with F. Murray Abraham, John Goodman, Justin Timberlake, and Carey Mulligan; the latter also appeared in The Great Gatsby, the fest’s splashy opener which apparently got lost in the shuffle. The Coens, btw,  scored a major Cannes coup back in 1991 when Barton Fink became the first film to win honors for Best Picture (reportedly a unanimous choice), Best Director, and Best Screenplay. The duo hasn’t been at Cannes, as I understand it, since 2007’s No Country for Old Men, which later dominated the Oscars.

Bruce Dern

Bruce Dern meets the press to discuss his latest, Nebraska, at the Cannes Film Festival. For some reason, he was not on hand to receive his Best Actor award even though he had clearly been at the fest at some point, so director Alexander Payne stepped in to accept the award for him.

Oh, and what great news for Bruce Dern. No.1: He hasn’t had a leading role in high-profile film in several years, so good for him. Of course, he was recently seen in Django Unchained; however, in a career that includes the likes of That Championship Season, for which he walked away with Best Actor accolades at the 1983 Berlin Film Festival,  his sole Oscar nomination is for his supporting role in 1978’s Coming Home. Some of Dern’s other lauded films include Middle Age Crazy (a Canadian Genie Award nod) and Drive, He Said (Best Actor-National Society of Film Critics). No.2: Dern’s latest is  a B& W entry from writer-director Alexander Payne whose films have proven wonderful showcases–and awards bait–for such actors as Kathy Bates (About Schmidt), former Texan Thomas Haden Church (Sideways), George Clooney (The Descendants), the still sadly under-used Virginia Madsen (Sideways), and Jack Nicholson (About Schmidt)–not to mention the likes of Laura Dern, Bruce’s daughter,  whose fearless performance in Payne’s Citizen Ruth generated lots of buzz without Oscar recognition–as did Reese Witherspoon’s nifty turn in Election. Oh, and speaking of Mulligan and Gatsby, Brucie also appeared as Tom Buchanan in the 1974 version starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow. I guess all things are connected. I’m sure both Dern’s and the Coens’ latest will not have any trouble finding domestic distribution.

Meanwhile, if the name Bérénice Bejo sounds familiar, it’s because the French actress scored a Best Supporting Actress nomination for The Artist (2011), which began its award ascendancy at Cannes also. Bejo was a last minute replacement in La Passe for Oscar winner Marion Cotillard (La Vien Rose), so, again, good for Bejo whom I just learned dubbed the voice of Merida in the French release of Pixar’s recent Brave.

Oh, and keep your eye out for Golden Camera winner Ilo Ilo. Don’t forget, last year’s winner, Beasts of the Southern Wild, became a summertime critical sensation as well as a major player in the Oscar race, what with nods for Best Picture, Best Director (Benh Zeitlin) and Best Actress (Quvenzhané Wallis). According to recent reports, Ilo Ilo‘s Anthony Chen now holds the distinction of being the first Singaporean filmmaker to win an award at Cannes. Nice.

Can you believe it? This is my 100th post in just under two years.

Thanks for your consideration….

Festival de Cannes: http://www.festival-cannes.fr/en/archives/awardCompetition.html

Cannes Jury Article in Variety:

http://variety.com/2013/film/news/nicole-kidman-christopher-waltz-ang-lee-among-cannes-jury-members-1200410650/

Singapore’s Anthony ChenIlo makes Cannes history with Ilo Ilo:

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/ilo-ilo-is-first-s-pore-film-to-win-at-c/687760.html

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