Bold or boring? Press splits over Thai Cannes winner
Monday 24 May 2010
A surreal Thai movie that scooped top prize at this year's Cannes festival divided the European press Monday, hailed by some as the best of a "dull" crop but dismissed by others as boring or "grotesque".
In France, which received three awards Sunday night including best actress for Juliette Binoche, the verdict split down the middle on the surprise win for Apichatpong Weerasethakul's "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives".
Le Monde newspaper said the Cannes jury, headed by US director Tim Burton, chose to reward "an outsider of the cinematic world" among a "relatively weak" crop of films running this year for the best film Palme d'Or.
The popular Le Parisien newspaper called the choice of the Thai film a "Palme prize for the strange," while Liberation described it as a "magical and unsettling film" that provided the epilogue to a "dull" festival."
For Le Figaro however, "Uncle Boonmee" was "boring, incomprehensible and hallucinatory" and it was "the Palm prize for boredom."
In Britain, the mood was generally positive, despite the disappointment of home-favourite Mike Leigh missing out on the top award.
With "thin pickings" the jury did well to select the Thai film, The Independent said, "in a world dominated by big Hollywood franchises, nobody will begrudge Uncle Boonmee his place in the Cannes sun."
It is "an arresting work that defies categorisation", said the daily, which ran a front-page photograph of Juliette Binoche's protest against the imprisonment of Iranian director Jafar Panahi when she collected her award.
For London's The Times, the surreal drama "was the weirdest film competing for the Palme d'Or... but the experience was fantastic, intersecting landscape and memory."
Switzerland's Le Temps newspaper said the top prize proved Cannes was "one of the last places in the world where different, difficult filmmakers who are marginalised by the market can find hope to find support."
"Cannes 2010 signals the victory of risk taking," the paper said on its website.
But it also warned this was "not necessarily good news for the event."
"Viewers who discovered Apichatpong Weerasethkul at the festival... or (Chadian) Mahamat-Saleh Haroun on his Jury Prize would not return so quickly to see a film crowned on the Croisette."
Some of the harshest criticism for "Uncle Boonmee" came from Spain's leading newspaper El Pais, which called the film an "absurd and soporific tale" in an article headlined "Grotesque Palme d'Or."
But Spain devoted most front-page space to homegrown Cannes triumph Javier Bardem, who won best actor for his part in "Bitiful" by Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu - and to his love life with Spanish actress Penelope Cruz.
Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awardsTheatre
Grace DentChannel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 2 Ben Affleck asked TV chiefs to hide slave-owning ancestry, new hacked Sony emails published by Wikileaks claim
- 3 Driving while dehydrated can be just as dangerous as drink driving, study suggests
- 4 Farmer told to tear down mock-Tudor castle after hiding construction behind hay bales
- 5 One Direction: Louis Tomlinson launching his own record label, has already 'signed two acts'
Better Call Saul creator Peter Gould on the creative concerns of a prequel, season 2 and the mind-numbing realities of the small courts
Britain's Got Talent 2015: RSPCA investigating Marc Metral's miming dog after cruelty complaints
One Direction: Louis Tomlinson launching his own record label, has already 'signed two acts'
Tidal CEO leaves Jay Z's music streaming service only a month after it launched
Star Wars 7: The Force Awakens: Luke Skywalker actor Mark Hamill admits he was suspicious of 'Star Trek guy' JJ Abrams
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate