Written by: FFT Webmaster | May 23rd, 2011
The Cannes Film Festival concluded its 64th edition on Sunday with the announcement of its juried awards. Led by president Robert De Niro, the Official Jury gave the top nod, the famed Palme d’Or to American director Terrence Malick for his metaphysical family drama THE TREE OF LIFE. The film, one of the key events because of its director’s reputation and it being only the fifth film in his nearly 40 year career, stars Brad Pitt and Sean Penn. The notoriously shy director did not take to the stage to accept the prize. The film, a meditation of life, death and the origins of the universe, is set to open this Friday in the United States, and its big win in Cannes will certainly prime the interest of film buffs. However, as with many previous Palme D’Or winners, the target audience is most definitely a specialized one, considering the film’s themes and non-traditional execution.
The Grand Prix was shared between two films: THE KID WITH A BIKE, the naturalistic story of a neglected boy lashing out after his father abandons him, directed by the Belgian duo Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne; and ONCE UPON A TIME IN ANATOLIA, a dramatic pastiche set in a small Turkish town, by the Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan. Oscar nominee Ryan Gosling’s gritty heist drama DRIVE earned Best Director honors for Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn. The Best Screenplay prize was won by Israeli writer/director Joseph Cedar for the film FOOTNOTE about warring father/son academics.
Kirsten Dunst (SPIDERMAN) won her first major acting prize with a Best Actress win for the Lars Von Trier film MELANCHOLIA. She stars as a new bride growing increasingly distant from her sister (Charlotte Gainsbourg) just as a new planet emerges in the solar system on a collision course with Earth. At the awards ceremony, Dunst thanked her director, who has faced a firestorm of criticism over controversial comments made last week at a press conference prior to the world premiere screening of the film. It was gratifying to see that the Jury did not choose to punish Ms. Dunst for the rantings of her screwball director on being a Nazi sympathizer. The choice came as a bit of a surprise, since industry wags had predicted that Tilda Swinton was the frontrunner for the award for her performance as the distraught mother of a high school killer in Lynn Ramsey’s WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN.
French star Jean Dejardin was a popular choice as Best Actor for his charismatic turn as a 1920s silent-film actor facing career oblivion as talkies take over Hollywood in the melodrama THE ARTIST. The film, shot in black and white and almost completely silent, was one of the most beloved of the festival, and is set to open in the United States this fall. Winning the Camera D’Or, the Festival prize for best first feature film was the Argentine road movie LAS ACACIAS by debut director Pablo Gorgelli.
2001 CANNES FILM FESTIVAL AWARDS
THE TREE OF LIFE (Terrence Mallick, USA)
Grand Prix (Tie)
THE KID WITH A BIKE (Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Belgium)
ONCE UPON A TIME IN ANATOLIA (Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Turkey)
Prix de la Mise en Scene (Best Director)
Nicolas Winding Refn for DRIVE (Denmark)
Prix du Scenario (Best Screenplay)
Joseph Cedar for FOOTNOTE (Israel)
Camera d’Or (Best First Feature)
LAS ACACIAS (Pablo Gorgelli, Argentina)
Prix du Jury (Jury Prize)
POLISSE (Maiwenn, France)
Kirsten Dunst for MELANCHOLIA (Denmark)
Jean Dujarin for THE ARTIST (France)
Best Short Film
CROSS COUNTRY (Marina Viroda, Mexico)