23 May 2010

Apichatpong Weerasethakul Takes the Palme d'Or

Tim Burton and the jury awarded Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives the Palme d'Or at Cannes today, marking the first Palme d'Or for the director and for Thailand. Weerasethakul won the Jury Prize in 2004 for Tropical Malady (which still feels like a giant oversight by Quentin Tarantino and his jury that year, who gave the Palme d'Or to Fahrenheit 9/11) and the Un Certain Regard Award in 2002 for Blissfully Yours. You can watch A Letter to Uncle Boonmee, the director's fantastic 17-minute short which he expanded into the feature, on MUBI. In his fourth outing as a feature director, Mathieu Amalric took home the Best Director prize for Tournée [On Tour]. In a rare tie, Javier Bardem and Elio Germano were named the Best Actors for Biutiful and La nostra vita [Our Life] respectively, and Juliette Binoche won her first Best Actress prize at Cannes this year for Abbas Kiarostami's Copie conforme [Certified Copy]. Rounding out the rest of the awards: Lee Chang-dong won Best Screenplay for Poetry, Xavier Beauvois' Des hommes et des dieux [Of Gods and Men] was awarded the Grand Prix and Michael Rowe's Año bisiesto [Leap Year] won the Caméra d'Or (for best first film). Full awards below:

Palme d'Or: Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, d. Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand/France/Germany/Spain/United Kingdom
Grand prix: Des hommes et des dieux [Of Gods and Men], d. Xavier Beauvois, France
Prix du jury: Un homme qui crie [A Screaming Man], d. Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, France/Chad
Prix de la mise en scène [Best Director]: Mathieu Amalric - Tournée [On Tour]
Prix d'interprétation féminine [Best Actress]: Juliette Binoche - Copie conforme [Certified Copy]
Prix d'interprétation masculine [Best Actor]: (tie) Javier Bardem - Biutiful; Elio Germano - La nosta vita [Our Life]
Prix du scénario [Best Screenplay]: Lee Chang-dong - Poetry
Caméra d'Or: Año bisiesto [Leap Year], d. Michael Rowe, Mexico

Cannes: Un Certain Regard, FIPRESCI, Queer Palm, Semaine de la Critique, Acquisitions...

Some early prizes at the 63rd annual Cannes Film Festival were given out today, in the Un Certain Regard sidebar (which was presided over by Claire Denis), as well as the FIPRESCI (Fédération Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique) awards, the Grand Prix of the Semaine de la Critique, the Art Cinema Award and Short Film Prizes of the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs... et plus.

Un Certain Regard Award: HaHaHa, d. Hong Sang-soo, South Korea
- Jury Prize: Octubre [October], d. Daniel Vega, Diego Vega, Peru/Venezuela/Spain
- Un Certain Regard Award for Best Actress: Adela Sanchez, Eva Bianco, Victoria Raposo, Los labios [The Lips]

- Competition: Tournée [On Tour], d. Mathieu Amalric, France
- Un Certain Regard: Pál Adrienn [Adrienn Pál], d. Ágnes Kocsis, Hungary/Austria/France/Netherlands
- Quinzaine des Réalisateurs: Todos vós sodes capitáns [You Are All Captains], d. Oliver Luxe, Spain/Morocco

Queer Palm: Kaboom, d. Gregg Araki, USA/France
Grand Prix de la Semaine de la Critique: Armadillo, d. Janus Metz, Denmark
Art Cinema Award (Quinzaine des Réalisateurs): Pieds nus sur les limaces [Lily Sometimes], d. Fabienne Berthaud, France
Prix SFR (short films, Quinzaine des Réalisateurs): Căutare [Quest], d. Ionuţ Piţurescu, Romania; Mary Last Seen, d. Sean Durkin, USA

As expected, IFC Films snatched up the most films this year. Araki's Kaboom, Xavier Dolan's Heartbeats [Les amours imaginaires], Bertrand Tavernier's The Princess of Montpensier [La princesse de Montpensier], Jorge Michel Grau's We Are What We Are [Somos lo que hay] and Abbas Kiarostami's Certified Copy [Copie conforme] have all been picked up by the studio since the start of the festival. Prior to that, they had already struck a deal for Olivier Assayas' Carlos, along with The Sundance Channel (they're owned by the same company); The Sundance Channel will air the 333-minute-long version later this year, followed by a theatrical release from IFC of a shorter, three-hour-long cut.

The other US distributor that typically returns from Cannes with several films added to their roster, Sony Pictures Classics, has been more conservative than usual in their purchases thusfar (possibly due to the reportedly weak line-up this year), taking only Xavier Beauvois' Of Gods and Men [Des hommes et des dieux] and Mike Leigh's Another Year. They had already secured Woody Allen's You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger and Stephen Frears' Tamara Drewe, both playing out of competition. The only other US purchase at the festival so far came from Magnolia's genre arm, Magnet Releasing, who picked up Quentin Dupieux's horror/comedy Rubber. Rubber, which screened during the Semaine de la Critique, stars Roxane Mesquida and Stephen Spinella (Milk, Love! Valour! Compassion!). The official closing ceremony of the 63rd Cannes Film Festival will begin in just a few hours.

21 May 2010

The 2010 Cannes Film Festival in Posters, Round 2

Here are 34 more posters for films playing at this year's Cannes Film Festival. All are new titles, aside from Somos lo que hay [We Are What We Are] as I found a different, larger poster for it. From the competition, we have La princesse de Montpensier, Tender Son: The Frankenstein Project, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (thanks ouiouioui!) and Hors-la-loi (which leaves only Another Year, Fair Game, Chongqing Blues, Route Irish and My Joy un-represented in that section). From the Cannes Classics section: La 315ème section, Psycho, The Leopard, Boudu Saved from Drowning, Tristana, La compagne de Ciceron, Le grand amour, The Tin Drum, Kiss of the Spider Woman, The African Queen, Au petit bonheur and La bataille du rail. The rest: O Estranho Caso de Angélica, Bedevilled (which might be the cover sheet of a press booklet), Benda Bilili!, Chatroom (easily the worst reviewed film at the festival so far), Aurora, Le quattro volte, Octubre, Sandcastle, Picco, Simon Werner a disparu..., La casa muda, Unter dir die Stadt, The Wanderer, Udaan, Los labios, Marţi, după Crăciun and You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger. There may be one more update when the festival closes.

19 May 2010

Être Queer à Cannes

Following in the traditions of both the Berlinale and Venice International Film Festival, the very first Queer Palm will be handed out at the Cannes Film Festival this year. Though in its first year, the award isn't yet an "official" prize... but it will be given to any film screening across the panels (the Official selection, Un Certain Regard, Quinzaine des Réalisateurs, Semaine de la Critique). The Teddy Award in Berlin has been around since 1987, formed by German filmmakers Wieland Speck and Manfred Salzgeber; the first Teddy's were given to Pedro Almodóvar's Law of Desire [La ley del deseo] in the feature category and Gus Van Sant's Five Ways to Kill Yourself and My New Friend in the shorts section. The Queer Lion of the Venice Film Festival has only been around for three years, with the first prize going to Edward Radtke's The Speed of Life in 2007; Tom Ford's A Single Man won last year. "Fathered" by directors Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau (Jeanne et le garçon formidable, Crustacés et coquillages), the Queer Palm will be announced at a ceremony on the 22nd. For more information, here's an interview with the organizer, Franck Finance-Madureira, with English subtitles. Ducastel and Martineau won a Teddy Jury Award in 2000 for The Adventures of Félix [Drôle de Félix].

Unfortunately, the official Queer Palm site doesn't mention which titles are eligible for the award, but with three notable queer cinéastes presenting their latest films this year, I'd imagine they'll have their pick of Gregg Araki's Kaboom! (which played out of competition at a midnight screening), Xavier Dolan's Heartbeats [Les amours imaginaires] (which has gotten a lot of great feedback and was just acquired by IFC Films) and (possibly) Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (which hasn't screened yet and may not be as queer as, say, Tropical Malady). I suppose there's a possibility in Cam Archer's Shit Year (like Weerasethakul's, it may lack the queerness of the director's previous Wild Tigers I Have Known), but gauging a film's queerness is a challenge (for those reading synopses and reviews just as much, I'd imagine, as those who've actually seen the films).

Looking at the Semaine de la Critique line-up today, I just now noticed that another (queer) short directed by James Franco, The Clerk's Tale, will be closing the Court-Métrange section of the Semaine (along with a short directed by Kirsten Dunst called Bastard, with Juno Temple, Brian Geraghty, Lukas Haas, Lee Thompson Young and L.M. Kit Carson). A little over a year after acting in a Gus Van Sant film (Milk, of course), Franco seems to be carrying on the queer cinema torch. Another short he directed called Feast of Stephen, about a teenage boy's black-and-white fantasies, took home the Teddy for Short Film earlier this year; Franco also played that homo Allen Ginsberg in Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman's Howl, also part of the 2010 Berlinale. If no other Queer Palm information surfaces in the next few days, you'll hear back from me when the jury hands out their prize. Until then, check out the charming, smutty interview BUTT magazine conducted with Dolan back in April.

15 May 2010

Criterion in August

Criterion's newly announced titles for August range from "well, finally" to "thanks, but..." The most obvious "finally" is a three-film set of Josef von Sternberg silents–Underworld, The Last Command and The Docks of New York–which had been speculated to be on their way for years. Still under the "finally" category is Maurice Pialat's L'enfance nue. After Criterion released Pialat's amazing À nos amours in 2006, we might have expected a number of the director's other films to surface, but so far only a crummy disc of Loulou and an out-of-print one for Van Gogh are the only other Pialat's on home video in the US (Masters of Cinema in the UK have been putting out most of his oeuvre on DVD over the past couple years). While I wouldn't necessarily throw Terry Zwigoff's Crumb or his first film, a documentary called Louie Bluie, into the "no thanks" category, as long as these releases don't lead to Criterion putting out any of his fiction features. And, well, as there's only one other title left (on the main line), you can guess my feelings toward Marcel Camus' Black Orpheus [Orfeu Negro], which will get a remastered reissue DVD release as well as a Blu-ray on the 17th. The Eclipse set will be the First Films of Akira Kurosawa–Sanshiro Sugata, Sanshiro Sugata 2, The Most Beautiful and The Men Who Tread on the Tiger's Tail–all four of which were first issued last December in the AK 100 box set. Aside from Black Orpheus, Crumb will be the only other Blu-ray release in August. I have a non-Criterion DVD update coming up soon.

11 May 2010

The 2010 Cannes Film Festival in Posters, Round 1

With the 63rd annual Cannes Film Festival beginning shortly, I decided to unveil the posters for the films playing (in all the sections) that I've come across so far. Though I didn't find a poster for it, Ken Loach's Route Irish, a film dealing with the British's involvement in Iraq, was added to the competition line-up, making the grand total of films in competition nineteen; ten of which (Biutiful, Burnt by the Sun 2, Copie conforme, The Housemaid, Des hommes et des dieux, Outrage, Poetry, Un homme qui crie, La nostra vita and Tournée) I did find posters for. In total, there's 26 in this round (I had more before realizing they were just cover sheets for the press booklets), including a collage of posters for Im Sang-soo's The Housemaid and Xavier Dolan's Les amours imaginaires. The rest: Abel, Alting bliver godt igen, Blue Valentine, Carancho, Copacabana, Draquila - L'Italia che trema, Illégal, L'autre monde, Año bisiesto, Life, Above All, Petit tailleur, Rubber, Film socialisme, Somos lo que hay and Wall Street 2.