Geoffrey Macnab: Judges warm to an arresting work that defies categorisation
Monday 24 May 2010
Tim Burton and his Cannes jury have had thin pickings this year. The 2010 competition has been full of films that have provoked mild enthusiasm or moderate disapproval without really inflaming the passions of the festival-goers.
"A La Folie!", the phrase the French use when they really love a film, hasn't been much used over the past fortnight. Perhaps that explains the enthusiasm with which director Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives was greeted when it screened late in the festival. Critics and jurors alike seemed to warm to a film that was arresting, original and defied easy categorisation. "Beautifully entrancing" was the verdict of Screen International of a film about an elderly man with liver failure preparing for his death.
British hopes had rested with the two redoubtable Ls, Loach and Leigh. The Cannes audience seemed especially enamoured of Mike Leigh's Another Year, which received a prolonged ovation at its official screening. Ken Loach's Route Irish, a very late addition, had also been strongly tipped. Both emerged empty-handed. The Brits, can console themselves by knowing that the Palme D'Or winner Uncle Boonmee was produced by Keith Griffiths and Simon Field of UK company Illuminations.
Uncle Boonmee has a British distributor, so UK audiences will at least have the chance to see it (unlike several other titles in competition this year.) The Palme D'Or winner himself is due in London this week for his new gallery exhibition, Phantoms Of Nabua, at BFI South Bank. Apichatpong is due on stage to discuss his work tomorrow.
Juliette Binoche was among the favourites for the Best Actress award for her playful and merc-urial performance as the art gallery owner in Abbas Kiarostami's A Certified Copy. Javier Bardem (who shared the Best Actor award) was likewise admired for his performance in Biutiful.
But many will have been surprised that former Bond villain Mathieu Amalric won the Best Director prize for his debut feature behind the camera, On Tour.
A rambling, wildly uneven shaggy-dog story about an impresario touring round France with a bunch of blowsy burlesque dancers, this played like a Gallic version of a John Cassavetes film. Amalric's directorial style seemed to consist of turning the camera on and letting the actors improvise.
In stronger editions, many of the titles vying for the Palme D'Or would have been showing in "Un Certain Regard," the parallel section for "original and different" works that don't have quite the heft to justify a competition slot.
But Cannes is still the one event where art-house movies capture the full attention of the world's media. Films that will turn up in the UK at small specialist cinemas, if at all, are shown with the full red-carpet fanfare. In a world dominated by big Hollywood franchises, nobody will begrudge Uncle Boonmee his place in the Cannes sun.
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nokia no more: Microsoft drops once-ubiquitous mobile name – in favour of its Lumia brand
- 2 Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
- 3 Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes too far at the Q Awards
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 NHS staff banned from drinking tea or coffee on the job because it looks like they're not working hard enough
MOBO Awards 2014: Jess Glynne hits out at 'ridiculous' criticism of nominated white artists
American Horror Story season 4, Fox - TV review: Silly, sensational and sensitive
MOBO awards 2014: Sam Smith sweeps the board with four gongs
The Apprentice, episode 3 - review: Lord Sugar hacks away at the deadwood with another double elimination
Channel 5 set to give Big Brother the cold shoulder
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement