May 232016
 

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Twenty one films competed for the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, making it one of the biggest, and, according to many critics who attended the festival, one of the strongest fields in recent history. Overnight the Jury, presided by George Miller (director of Mad Max: Fury Road), selected the award winners.

From a star-studded lineup of films it was Maren Ade’s Toni Erdmann that received consistent raves from critics and became the clear favourite for this year’s Palme. Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson, Jeff Nichols’ Loving, Kleber Mendonca Filho’s Aquarius, and Christian Mungiu’ The Graduation all received very positive reactions. Paul Verhoeven’s Elle caused a storm on the second-to-last day, drawing many speculations that it would win and/or star Isabelle Huppert would win her third Best Actress award. Andrea Arnold’s American Honey was more divisive, but was also believed to be a very strong contender. Of course, there were films that copped it from the Croisette crowds. Olivier Assayas’ Personal Shopper, Nicolas Winding Refn The Neon Demon, Xavier Dolan’s It’s Only the End of the World and Sean Penn’s The Last Face, were aggressively booed, with the latter pair widely regarded as two of the worst to screen in the competition. There was barely a whisper for the latest Dardenne Bros film The Unknown Girl, and subdued response to Pedro Almodovar’s Julietta. 

But, various Jury Grids yielded different results, and amongst all of the online chatter it became impossible to predict just who would win this year. The Cannes Jury selections were surprising, to say the least. All we know is that we’re excited about all of these films, and hope to have the opportunity to see them all at some point this year.

Here is a list of all of the winners:

Palme d’or

I, Daniel Blake, directed by Ken Loach

Grand Prix

Juste La Fin Du Monde (It’s Only the End of the World), directed by Xavier Dolan

Jury Prize 

American Honey, directed by Andrea Arnold

Best Director (tie)

Christian Mungiu, Bacalaureat (Graduation)

Olivier Assayas, Personal Shopper

Best Screenplay 

Asghar Farhadi, Forushande (The Salesman)

Best Performance by an Actress 

Jaclyn JOSE in Ma’ Rosa, directed by Brillante Mendoza

Best Performance by an Actor

Shahab Hosseini inForushande (The Salesman), directed by Asghar Farhadi

The Jury of the CST also awarded the Vulcan Award of the Technical Artist to Seong-Hie Ryu, for the artistic direction, with great inspiration, for The Handmaiden by Park Chan-Wook

Feb 292016
 

morricone

The Oscars are over for another year, with the 88th Awards taking place today at the Dolby Theatre. It was one of the weirdest (and longest) ceremonies in recent years. The order of the presentation this year was meant to represent the journey through a film’s production, but that made sense for a mere two awards, and the ceremony was broken up by satirical clips, bizarre interludes, a troupe of girl scouts selling cookies to the audience, and live performances of the three nominated songs. Chris Rock did a stellar job as host, tackling the criticism about this year’s lack of diversity head on from his opening monologue, and crossing the line on several other occasions. Many of the presenters and winners took the opportunity to voice their concerns about diversity, equal opportunity, climate change and sexual assault awareness.

Mad Max: Fury Road led the way with six wins, cleaning up the technical categories including Best Editing and Best Production Design. I am sure everybody wondered if this would also be George Miller’s day too. The Revenant claimed three – including Best Director for Alejandro G. Inarritu in addition to Leonardo DiCaprio (Best Actor) and Emmanuel Lubezki (Best Cinematography), who were all-but sure things. Brie Larson claimed a win for Room (Best Actress), Mark Rylance landed Best Supporting Actor for Bridge of Spies and Alicia Vikander was deemed the Best Supporting Actress for The Danish Girl. The Big Short won Best Adapted Screenplay and Ennio Morricone won his very first Oscar, at age 87, for The Hateful Eight. As many predicted Inside Out, Amy and Son of Saul were honoured for Best Animated, Documentary and Foreign Language Films respectively.

But, it was Spotlight that won the first and last awards – Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture – coming through the preferential ballot on top to become one of only a handful of films to win Best Picture with only one other victory. The film’s tremendous ensemble, its important and topical subject, and the fact that it is almost universally admired contributed.

Some personal highlights from the ceremony and the complete list of winners can be found after the jump: Continue reading »

May 252015
 

Dheepan-Cannes-Film-Review

The Cannes Film Festival, the world’s most prestigious international film festival, is over for another year. Over the course of last twelve days 19 titles screened in the official competition before a jury led by the Coen Bros. Amongst some of the best received critically, at least from what I interpreted through my feed, were Todd Haynes’ Carol, Hou Hsiao-hsien’s The Assassin, Laszlo Nemes’ Son of Saul, Nanni Moretti’s Mi Madre, Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth and Denis Velleneuve’s Sicario. 

But, the jury award the Palme d’Or to Jacques Audiard for Dheepan, a drama about a Sri Lankan Tamil warrior who flees to France and ends up working as a caretaker outside Paris. Audiard’s last two films A Prophet and Rust and Bone both screened in the official competition, with the former winning the Grand Prix in 2009.

The Grand Prix (second prize) was awarded to Son of Saul, which sounds tremendous –  1944 Auschwitz, a prisoner forced to burn the corpses of his own people finds moral survival upon trying to salvage from the flames the body of a boy he takes for his son.

Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster was awarded the Jury Prize (third prize). This is the first English-language feature from the Greek director, featuring a cast including Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz and John C. Reilly.  Set in a dystopian near future, single people are obliged to find a matching mate in 45 days or are transformed into animals and released into the woods. Lanthimos won the Grand Prix in the Un Certain Regard section in 2009 for Dogtooth.

Best Director was awarded to Hsiao-hsien for The Assassin and Best Screenplay was awarded to Michael Franco for Chronic. There was a lot of discussion about the possibility of Tim Roth winning Best Actor for his performance in Chronic, so the screenplay win was a surprise. Best Actress was shared by Rooney Mara for Carol and Emannuelle Bercot for Mon Roi. The former film was wonderfully received, and the performances for both Mara and Cate Blanchett were celebrated. Mon Roi, Maiwenn’s follow-up to the award-winning Polisse, was not well-received at all. Best Actor was awarded to Vincent London for The Measure of a Man, directed by Stephane Brize.

For a full list of this year’s winners, visit the official Cannes Film Festival website.

While it has been hard to gauge just how strong this year’s line-up is, there are certainly a bunch of Competition titles that sound very intriguing. In addition to the aforementioned winners I most look forward to when Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario, Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth, Matteo Garrone’s The Tale of Tales, Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth and Joachim Trier’s Louder Than Bombs all make it to Australian screens over the next twelve months.

Jan 122015
 

boyhood

Boyhood and The Grand Budapest Hotel took out the top prizes at today’s Golden Globe Awards, selected by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Peohler – you can watch their opening monologue here – the night also celebrated the performances of Michael Keaton, Eddie Redmayne, Julianne Moore, Amy Adams, Patricia Arquette and JK Simmons and awarded Richard Linklater his first Golden Globe.

You can find all of the film winners after the jump:

Continue reading »