Cannes 2015: Pakistan showcases three films

25 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Cannes ends in a shocker: ‘Dheepan’ wins Palme d’Or.

CANNES: A French thriller spotlighting the plight of traumatized refugees building new lives, “Dheepan,” captured the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or top As countries around the world grapple with an influx of people fleeing crises, a jury led by American filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen chose the gritty picture about Sri Lankan asylum-seekers by acclaimed French director Jacques Audiard from a field of 19 international contenders. “To receive a prize from the Coen brothers is something pretty exceptional,” Audiard said after a victory that surprised many critics at cinema’s top showcase. The harrowing Holocaust drama “Son of Saul” by Hungarian newcomer Laszlo Nemes, offering unflinching depictions of the gas chambers of Auschwitz, claimed the Grand Prize, runner-up for best picture. “The Lobster,” a surreal black comedy about modern love by Greece’s Yorgos Lanthimos and starring Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz bagged the third-place Jury Prize. And so there was a strange fittingness that the scandal of the 68th Cannes Film Festival, where all status is measured, came down to the importance of a few inches.

Rooney Mara, paired in “Carol” with more hotly tipped co-star Cate Blanchett, split the prize with France’s Emmanuelle Bercot, in a doomed romance, “Mon Roi” (My King). Woman’s footwear, of all things, was thrust to the forefront of Cannes after several women were turned away from a premiere because they weren’t wearing high heels but flats. Recipient of some of the festival’s most impassioned reviews, pro and con, the film was acquired during Cannes by Sony Classics for North American release. “When we emerged from ‘Son of Saul,’ we had a very long moment of reflection and silence,” said jury member Xavier Dolan. “It’s one of those films that slowly grows into you.” “I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anything that was that effective on that subject,” added another juror, actress Sienna Miller. “I thought it was an extraordinary achievement as a first film.” Taiwanese auteur Hou Hsiao-hsien received the festival’s director prize for “The Assassin,” a visually dazzling martial-arts epic set in ninth-century China.

Bercot, who had a film she directed, “Standing Tall,” open the Cannes fest, said: “I am thrilled to share this with another actress because it’s a bit too big for me to carry alone.” In a big night for the host country, France’s Vincent Lindon won best actor for his moving turn as a job-seeker standing up for his dignity in “The Measure of a Man.” French Prime Minister Manuel Valls hailed the homegrown winners in a tweet: “French cinema shines tonight in Cannes and out into the world.” President Francois Hollande’s office hailed “Dheepan” for “dealing with virtuosity with the painful subject of Tamils looking to build a future in Europe.” Critic Peter Bradshaw of London’s The Guardian expressed disappointment at the choice of “Dheepan,” saying it was more of a lifetime achievement award for Audiard, who is a Cannes favorite. The film marked Hou’s seventh time in competition; he previously won the jury prize for 1993’s “The Puppetmaster.” Juror Guillermo Del Toro praised Hou’s filmmaking for speaking “in a language, a clarity and a poetry that was exceedingly strong.” Added Ethan Coen: “To make Guillermo’s point succinctly, the movie had an identity.” Haynes accepted on behalf of Mara, who had already returned to New York from the festival. “She would be so completely blown away by this prize,” he said. “I’m just so proud of her work, I’m so privileged to have worked with Rooney. Though summer blockbusters usually only supply the festival a flashy red carpet distraction, George Miller’s “Mad Max” sequel-reboot was perhaps the most lauded film in Cannes, rivaled only by a far more serious sensation: “Son of Saul,” a tracking close-up of a Sonderkommando at Auschwitz who believes he’s spotted his son in the camp’s gas chamber.

Mexican writer-director Michel Franco received the screenplay award for “Chronic,” his grimly observed English-language portrait of a Los Angeles palliative-care nurse (Tim Roth) dealing with his patients and past tragedies. “This film was born in Cannes,” Franco said onstage, referring to the fact that his 2012 film, “After Lucia,” won the Un Certain Regard prize from a jury presided over by Roth. While the jury spread the wealth around, recognizing films by American, Asian and Latin American helmers, all three Italian-directed titles in competition — Paolo Sorrentino’s “Youth,” Nanni Moretti’s “My Mother” and Matteo Garrone’s “Tale of Tales” — came up visibly empty-handed. Based on the 1952 Patricia Highsmith novel “The Price of Salt,” the film stars Blanchett and Rooney Mara as two women — one married with a child, the other a mousy shop girl — who are intractably drawn together, but who must cloak their budding romance in disguised gestures and subtle glances.

An honorary Palme was given to French director Agnes Varda, the first female recipient of the award, which was previously presented to Woody Allen, Clint Eastwood and Bernardo Bertolucci. Mara shared in the best actress award at Cannes, but Harvey Weinstein, who is distributing, will ensure that’s not the last honor for “Carol.” Also look for the tender Pixar tale “Inside Out,” Cotillard’s empathetic Lady Macbeth and the veteran stars of Paolo Sorrentino’s “Youth” (Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel) to find some award season attention.

The Camera d’Or for best first film was awarded to Cesar Augusto Acevedo’s “Land and Shade,” a bleak drama about a Colombian family dwelling in a flame-engulfed farmland. The film proved to be one of the most laureled films of the festival, having already earned the Visionary Prize and the Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers Prize in the Critics’ Week sidebar, where it premiered. But just as the cinematic horror hit “It Follows” drew raves at the festival last year, “The Green Room,” by Jeremy Saulnier, should be marked by thriller fans. In his second film following the lean revenge film “Blue Ruin,” Saulnier steps confidently into a bigger production, co-starring Patrick Stewart, about a touring hardcore punk band that runs into trouble at a backwoods gig for Neo-Nazi skinheads. Denis Villeneuve’s “Sicario,” about an FBI agent (Blunt) roped into a covert task force sent into Mexico, will also excite many for its sure-handed muscularity.

But “Son of Soul,” the first feature by Hungarian director Laszlo Nemes, is something wholly unique: a visceral, bone-chilling, first-person plunge into darkness. “The Lobster” and “Tale of Tales” — two films bound by a wry surrealism and John C. In Yorgos Lanthimos’s “The Lobster,” middle-aged, unmarried singles (Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Reilly) gather at a remote Irish hotel where, if they don’t couple up, they’re turned into an animal.

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