Monday, May 23, 2016

Cannes 2016 Day 12

Ken Loach  

Loach with longtime producer Rebecca O’Brien  

Xavier Dolan  

French-Canadian producer Nancy Grant and Xavier Dolan  

Loach and Dolan, the oldest and youngest directors in competition  

directors are joined by actress Jaclyn Jose  

Andrea Arnold  

Olivier Assayas  

Olivier Assayas and Cristian Mungiu  

Cristian Mungiu and Maria Dragus  

Jaclyn Jose  

director Brillante Mendoza with Jaclyn Jose and her daughter Andi Eigenmann  

Shahab Hosseini

Shahab Hosseini with director Ashgar Farhadi 

best screenwriter Ashgar Farhadi
Iranian actors Farid Sajjadihosseini, Babak Karimi, Taraneh Alidoosti, director Ashgar Farhadi, actor Shahab Hosseini and French producer Alexandre Mallet-Guy

Red carpet shots from The Hollywood Reporter:

A collection of pieces from The Hollywood Reporter:

Red carpet photos from PopSugar:

A French site that lists daily galleries of red carpet photos:

Celebrities arrive for the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, from The NY Daily News:

Daily list of best dressed at Cannes from Blouin Art Info:            

Jury member Kirsten Dunst

Jury members Kirsten Dunst and Mads Mikkelsen

Jury member Mads Mikkelsen and his wife Hanne Jacobsen

Jury member Donald Sutherland

Jury members Donald Sutherland and Vanessa Paradis

Jury members Valeria Golino and Vanessa Paradis

Jury members Katayoon Shahabi and Vanessa Paradis

Jury members Kirsten Dunst and Vanessa Paradis

one last look at the Cannes jury

Un Certain Regard jury, Céline Sallette, Diego Luna, president Marthe Keller, Ruben Östlund and Jessica Hausner

Cannes 2016: Ken Loach's I, Daniel Blake wins the Palme d'Or - as it happened  Benjamin Lee live blog of the awards ceremony from The Guardian, May 22, 2016  Cannes festival site video of the jury press conference following the awards ceremony, where Hungarian director László Nemes acknowledged that the Dolan film being shown on 35mm gave it an entirely different look than the other films in competition, which only made him appreciate the film even more, as well as the risk taken by the director in projecting such a painful and uniquely personal journey.  Donald Sutherland, in particular, is especially eloquent, claiming he would miss the intensity of the experience.  “It was passion fuelled by exquisite consideration for everybody else in the room,” he said.  “It was beautiful.  It was an association of people that you want to see again and again for the rest of your life.”

Certainly one thing to take from their collective comments is that we give critics entirely too much power and influence in determining the value of films, a power they often abuse and misjudge, as if they are the overriding authority.  We forget that it’s a collaboration of artists, not journalists, that create what we see onscreen.  Film critics historically ignore many of the best films and cutting edge directors out there, equating quality with commercial success, as if it’s a business decision, often missing the obvious.  What this festival gets right is to return cinema to the artists that help shape the industry, where the jury deliberations are not so much a critical appraisal, but an examination of the essence of cinema, evaluating not whether it’s good or bad, but whether it has the power to move hearts and souls.  Jury president George Miller compared how impersonal it is to cast a vote for the Academy Awards by checking off a box on a ballot as compared to the intimate setting of sitting down in a room for a week with a small group of cordial artists, each of whom likely has a different opinion, all coming from different life experiences, where listening to what everone has to say helps render a better collective judgment.  The intimacy of the process rewards not only the diversity of the films being seen, but also the other jury members in the room, as finding common ground, much like a jury deliberation in a trial, is not so easy, where the time and effort is usually worth it, producing a better and more responsible decision than one that might be whipped up by a single writer hours after viewing a film, often rushed by an imposed deadline.  While there will be articles excoriorating what the jury got wrong, if you listen to the press conference, where they intentionally avoided all the press reviews in order to render a more impartial verdict, they actually take pride in finding what for them were the most impactful and meaningful films.   Whether we agree or not, let’s at least honor the process, as those voices coming out of the jury are more resoundingly poignant than anything the critics have to say.   

Canada's Xavier Dolan wins Grand Prix at Cannes for It's Only the End of the World  Peter Howell from The Toronto Star, May 22, 2016

CANNES—Canada’s Xavier Dolan has won the Grand Prix, the second-place prize at the Cannes Film Festival, for his dysfunctional family dramaIt’s Only the End of the World.

It ties with Atom Egoyan’s The Sweet Hereafter, which won the Grand Prix in 1997, for the highest honour ever won for a Canadian feature film at Cannes‎.

The top prize, the Palme d’Or, at the close of the 69th Cannes fest went to ‎Britain’s Ken Loach for his social realism drama, I, Daniel Blake. It’s the second Palme win for Loach, 79, a Cannes veteran, who won the Palme in 2006 for the Irish conflict drama The Wind That Shakes the Barley.

He dedicated the award to the poor and homeless Britons the film compassionately depicts, and called for social change the world over.

“We must give a message of hope,” Loach said, his voice filled with emotion.

“We must say another world is possible — and necessary.”

And it’s the second big Cannes win for Dolan, 27, as the Montreal filmmaker looks to be making slow but steady ‎progress towards eventually winning the Palme.

He won the third place Jury Prize in 2014 for his maternal drama Mommy, a prize he shared with a film by French auteur Jean-Luc Godard.

This time, the award was all his own. And Dolan wept on the stage as he accepted his trophy from a fellow Canadian, actor Donald Sutherland, a member of Mad Max director George Miller’s nine-person Palme jury.

“Thank you for feeling the emotion of the film,” Dolan told the jury.

He was doubly glad the jury appreciated his film, based on a French stage play about a gay man returning home with news of terminal illness, because it had been largely slammed by critics here for its high-intensity acting‎ and relentless use of close-ups. The film stars an A-list‎ cast of French actors, including Marion Cotillard, Vincent Cassel and Léa Seydoux.

Dolan said the past few days of first having his film ravaged by critics and then seeing it saluted by the Palme jury taught him something about his work and himself.

“You have to remain true to yourself, no matter what people think,” he said. “It is an unoriginal thing to say, but it is what it is. So that’s how I feel, right here, right now.”

Dolan’s film also took the top prize of the Ecumenical Jury, an independent panel at Cannes, which recognizes works of human spiritual merit. It praised Dolan’s film for “filming in a transcendental way.”

To call Dolan’s win a surprise would be an understatement.

Most pundits predicted Dolan‎ would go home empty-handed, with the Palme going to Germany’s Maren Ade for her father-daughter comedy Toni Erdmann. But Ade and her film were shut out of the winner’s circle.

“We avoided looking at what other people were saying,” Miller said at the press conference following the awards.

He also said the jury felt no pressure to give the Palme to a female director, something that has happened just once in Cannes history: Jane Campion’s The Piano in 1993.

“We judged each film on its merits . . . it really didn’t come up,” he said‎.

‎This year’s Jury Prize went to Britain’s Andrea Arnold for her U.S. road drama American Honey, another film pipped for the Palme.

Best Director was shared by Romania’s Christian Mungiu for morality drama Graduation and France’s Olivier Assayas for supernatural thriller Personal Shopper.

Best Actor went to Iran’s Shahab Hosseini for The Salesman, another morality story, which also won writer/director Asghar Farhadi the Best Screenplay prize.

Best Actress went to Jaclyn Jose, who plays an impoverished mother forced to sell drugs in Ma’Rosa, by Filipino director ‎Brillante Mendoza. This also caught the critics by surprise.

“I think the critics were wrong,” Sutherland said. “But there were a lot of great performances by women.”

‎There was some physical humour from Sutherland at the press conference, who sported a head scarf apparently given to him by a journalist. He’d complained at the opening day press conference that he was freezing because the air conditioning was turned up too high.

“Movies resonate in your heart and soul,” Sutherland said, saying they’d make such an impression regardless of whether they’re viewed by a Cannes jury or by regular moviegoers throughout the world.

George Miller’s jury awarded a mixed bag of prizes that ignored some of the most exciting films at this year’s Cannes film festival. Still, this was an extraordinary year

Cannes jury decisions often baffle both outsiders and the jury members themselves. They have had to argue, shout, horse-trade — and then, as the clock runs down, and with festival director Thierry Frémaux frowningly entering the jury room pointing at his watch, finally come up with a compromise decision that satisfies no-one.

The prizes this year were a surprise and a mixed bag which somehow missed out many of the films which were generally found to be exciting and successful. Nothing for Maren Ade’s brilliant comedy Toni Erdmann. Nothing for Jim Jarmusch’s wonderful Paterson and nothing for Paul Verhoeven’s outrageously enjoyable thriller Elle. And it was incidentally exasperating to see that film’s star Isabelle Huppert overlooked for the Best Actress award — along with Kristen Stewart, Ruth Negga and Sonia Braga — in favour of Jaclyn Jose as the Manila drug-dealer in Brillante Mendoza’s Ma’Rosa. A good performance, but not exceptional.

But in my view no bad films were given prizes and it was very satisfying to see Ken Loach pick up his second Palme D’Or for I, Daniel Blake —a coldly angry indictment of food-bank Britain, scripted by his longtime screenwriter Paul Laverty. It was the only film of the festival which moved me to tears; the heart-wrenching and frightening scene in the food-bank itself has enormous power. This was a film of almost radical plainness, with a great performance from Dave Johns (as so often in the past, Loach has got great serious work from a comic — he has cast John Bishop and George Lopez in the past). Loach is, as I have written before, the John Bunyan of contemporary cinema. Or to use another comparison, he has directed a film which repudiates frills and nuances as firmly as a medieval mystery play. It may well be that his heartfelt idealism and Amish simplicity became a sort of Esperanto for the international jury. It was something they could all understand and endorse in each other’s company.

So: to the decision which outraged almost everyone, but which caused me to rise briefly from my laptop and shout: “Ha! Yes!” and then subside chuckling to my seat. The Grand Prix went to Xavier Dolan’s It’s Only The End Of The World. Now, there were films I liked better at Cannes, sure, and films which I thought more deserving of this particular award. But it was really good, a provocation made with uncompromising attack and flair, a film driven with authorial personality and a film which has been mocked and misunderstood by the majority of critics. It is an absurdist drama of confrontation and hysteria, which conveys in stylised and dreamlike form the horror experienced by a young man who must return to his hometown and tell his family he is dying. (He is a successful dramatist: the movie is based on an autobiographical play by Jean-Luc Lagarce, who died of Aids in 1995.) The result is a non-stop screaming match: a cinematic death-metal opera. It’s not for everyone, but it is fascinatingly created and intended. Perhaps this prize will persuade the detractors to give it another go.

Again, it is satisfying to see two really excellent films being distinguished. In my view, Cristian Mungui’s Graduation and Olivier Assayas’s Personal Shopper were the two best films in competition. Graduation was my (incorrect) tip for the Palme. As it turned out, Mungiu and Assayas shared the director’s prize, and that will have to do. Graduation is an utterly absorbing film of masterly compositional flair which is a very persuasive character-study of a doctor whose muddy moral choices infect his daughter’s worldview — and also a resoundingly authoritative picture of Romania, and the Eastern Europe which now has a generational perspective on the escape from communism.

Personal Shopper is a tremendously exciting and bizarre picture which mischievously messes with genre. Along with Paul Verhoeven’s Elle and Nicolas Winding Refn’s LA horror-shocker The Neon Demon (both ignored), it was a film which caused festival-goers to become slightly delirious and skittish. This was down partly to a really excellent, downbeat performance from Kristen Stewart whose contribution to this festival was very substantial. She plays a troubled young woman who has two things to do: she is a personal assistant to a demanding fashionista, but she is also a medium, trying to contact the spirit of her dead twin brother. It was utterly intriguing, with audacious flourishes of suspense. And it was very well directed.

Asghar Farhadi’s The Salesman was a serious and valuable movie, though its pattern of opaque implications were beginning to look like a mannerism for this director, and not as subtle as his previous movies. But it was widely admired at the festival and now gets both the screenplay prize (a valid award, I concede, considering the subtle intricacy of its structure) but also the Best Actor prize for Shahab Hosseini, as a teacher and actor in a semi-professional theatre group, playing Willy Loman in a production of Death Of A Salesman. As the run begins, his wife is attacked in mysterious circumstances. Hosseini does a perfectly good job in the role and his underplaying is exactly right. But to return to the scandalous neglect of Maren Ade’s comedy Toni Erdmann, I would have much preferred to see the prize go its star, Peter Simonischek, or indeed to Adam Driver for his wonderfully sympathetic, humble performance in Jarmusch’s Paterson as the poet who drives a bus.

The Jury Prize for Andrea Arnold’s American Honey is pleasing: an American-realist study in the style of Van Sant and Korine, with something of Malick’s reverence for epiphanic detail, all about a bunch of kids on a bus touring around the US, selling magazine subscriptions door-to-door and living and partying in hotel rooms at night. It was a film which I felt did not have the brilliance and natural idiom of her other films, and I also felt that Shia LaBeouf could have been directed and controlled more. But it had Arnold’s habitual, superb confidence in her own ability to create ambient cinema, to summon up the mood and moment. She just puts you on the tour bus, or in the hotels, or in the K-Marts, or the streets around which the kids were trudging, and lets you stay there. We talk about films being immersive. You were marinaded in this one. I was always keen to see this a second time, and the Jury Prize has only whetted my appetite more.

Cannes 2016 was an exceptionally good year, and the competition list was a virtually uninterrupted hot-streak of talent, only rarely interrupted by disappointments. The prize list being an anti-climax is becoming a bit of a tradition, but needn’t lessen any satisfaction at this festival. 2016 is a great vintage.

Cannes 2016: Palme de Whiskers   Barbara Scharres from The Ebert site, May 22, 2016 

After twelve exhausting Cannes Film Festival days, in which jury cats padded silently and undetected through the Palais des Festivals and whisked around all the hidden corners of the Marché du Film, it’s time for the festival’s most glorious event. Yes, it’s the awarding of my fantasy prize, the coveted Palme de Whiskers for Best Feline Performance. In a better world, this would be real.

Cats representing every nation are arriving at this moment at the Palais des Kittycats on the Cannes seafront.  Exquisitely appointed swinging cat-doors at every entrance assure that only feline celebrities will sashay down this exclusive catnip-scented red carpet. This year’s security regulations dictate that guests must come in their birthday suits, causing a momentary howl of protest among those who had brought new, jeweled collars for the occasion, and had promised celebrity endorsements to Chopard and Bulgari. 

As an additional security measure, the FFFA (Feline Film Festivals Authority) made an unprecedented alliance with selected members of the canine species for guard dog duty around the Palais des Kittycats. Volunteers include Policia, the feral-looking German Shepherd from the Romanian film “Dogs.” She’s actually quite sweet, despite having to appear disemboweled in the film. Stepping up for duty also is Marvin, the long-faced bulldog from “Paterson,” who confessed to artistic differences with director Jim Jarmusch, who callously rejected his suggestion to feature him in the act of destroying the film’s notebook of cringe-worthy poetry.

The jury deliberations are top secret, but let’s creep behind the scenes and see what’s going on. Hailing from Los Angeles are longtime jury members Nico and Chubbs, representing Vogue critic John Powers and novelist Sandi Tan. Nico, a Siamese, had a fit when her owners didn’t plan to take her to Cannes this year. She tapped out the ticket purchase online with a pointy claw when they weren’t looking. Poor Chubbs had to stuff his stripy bulk into a coach seat, but of course she got first class for herself because she’s a purebred. 

Fluffing his enormous tail with pride, even though he’s not really a Maine Coon Cat, first-time jury member Prince represents Toronto Film Festival’s Programs Manager Magali Simard. Layla, a luscious calico diva representing Amy Taubin of Film Comment, follows Prince into the jury room. Layla immediately protests with a snarl that there are no mirrors in the room. None of them is sure what to make of Gus, in his black-and-white tuxedo, representing Art Basel’s film curator Marian Masone, because he’s already taking a catnap in paper bag. “Jet lag,” he murmurs contentedly.

Bob, the big tabby sent by Manohla Dargis of the New York Times, pads in on his great white paws, sighing that he’s sore all over. His housemate Bill, who served on last year’s Palme de Whiskers jury, was so angry to be passed over this time around that he bit Bob’s neck in rage. Finally, Dali, the lovely jury president, slinks in, having just arrived from Croatia. Last year, as winner of the first-ever Kittycat Peace Prize for her role in “The High Sun,” she was just a shy barn cat. The Cannes experince infused her with a new sophistication, as evidenced by the high gloss of her orange-and-white coat.

Time to get down to business. Layla tore herself away from looking at her own reflection in a water bowl to declare that human females and cats have something in common in this year’s Cannes film selection. “They’re always being manhandled and dragged around,” she complained. “Like that nice little tabby in ‘American Honey,’ who was dangled from the arm of a careless kid.” Prince dips his paw in the water bowl to test the temperature, as he pipes up in his squeaky voice: “What about that big grey cat in the Israeli film “Personal Affairs?” He gave a great purr-formance after he was yanked out from behind a couch.” 

“That hulking tomcat in Paul Verhoeven’s ‘Elle’ made it through unscathed, and had a hefty speaking part too,” remarks Chubbs helpfully, “He had to watch a lot of bad stuff that the humans were up to, as well as jump on Isabelle Huppert’s chest.” “Yeah, and he almost got to eat a bird, except that Isabelle took it away from him,” adds Nico, smacking her lips at the thought.

“At least we cats weren’t being bloodied up and killed all the time, like the human females,” snorts Bob, his white whiskers quivering. “True, some cats were even treated quite nicely,” says Gus sleepily, referring to the marmalade cat who sat on the heroine’s bed in Spielberg’s “The BFG.” "Not CGI again,” howls Layla; “I’ve had it with virtual cats; aren’t there enough of us of every shape, size and color to do the job for real?”

Prince, whose sympathies lie with realistic street-cat performances, owing to the fact that he was abandoned on the street as a newborn, brings the jury’s attention to the lively ensemble of black-and-white strays scuttling through the Brazilian film “Aquarius.” “Not much going on there,” sniffs Bob. “Big deal: they ran around a garage and up and down some stairs!”

Nico and Chubbs helpfully suggest that the jury is overlooking the gems to be found in the Marché du Film. Despite being distracted by the mice scampering around in the recycling bins, they wandered silently among the market stands searching for cat colleagues. Nico champions the brown-coated star of the German film “Tomcat.”  “What a hunk,” she mews, casting a baleful green eye at out-of-shape Chubbs lounging on the next blanket. 

“Well I found one too, “ chortles Chubbs.  “Who could resist a little female kitty dying of cancer in a romantic comedy?” he says, referring to the trailer for “How to Break Up with My Cat,” seen at a Korean film stand. “No fair,” protests Gus, “That film is still in production.” And so it goes until the secret ballot is taken and the jury members strut out onto the stage before the feline world’s high society, where they take their seats on velvet cushions playfully emblazoned with a mouse motif.

My own Miss Kitty, her red-tinged tabby fur gleaming, is once again Mistress of Ceremonies. “Have you reached a decision, Madam President?” she squeaks throatily to Dali. Amid a hush, in which not even the lowest purr can be heard, Dali pads up to the mic. “The 2016 Palme de Whiskers goes to Rocky, of Chlöe Sevigny’s short film 'Kitty,' for his female-impersonating role as the cat a little girl transforms herself into." The gathered cats love it, and appreciative purring roars through the hall!

A compact grey mackerel tabby with thick plush fur and yellow eyes, Rocky jumps to the stage and gives Dali a lick on the cheek, clutching to his broad chest with a sturdy paw the trophy, with its elegant spray of 18K gold whiskers on a crystal base. Thanking director Sevigny, he credits his moving performance to being a highly trained method actor. “Given the sensitivity of my role, I made sure my rear end was never turned to the camera,” he confides.

There’s one more award this year, announces Dali. It’s the second annual Kittycat Peace Prize. It goes to the stray-cat ensemble from Asghar Farhadi’s “The Salesman.” What a surprise! Having just arrived in the nick of time straight from Tehran, Mrow, a handsome white tom with startling black ears, leaps to the stage and humbly accepts on behalf of his colleagues, who include an adorably fluffy kitten. “It’s the first time Iranian felines have been recognized at Cannes,” he acknowledges, “Especially those of us from the lowest social order.” Mrow hopes it won’t be the last.

Pungent whiffs of the buffet of assorted local fish are wafting through the Palais des Kittycats, and the audience is getting restless. Meanwhile, romance looks to be in the offing. Prince sidles up to Dali with the line that he too knows what it means to suffer, even if he didn’t live in a war zone. Chubbs sneaks away from Nico and heads in Miss Kitty’s direction. It’s another fine year at Cannes!

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Cannes critics ratings, a composite of 7 different critic scores: 

The Cannes Criterion Forum is up and running:  

Screendaily Jury Grid

Ioncinema Critics Panel:

The final version of Les Etoiles de la critiques is up and running as well (click on image to obtain a full screen):

While Neil Young from Jigsaw Lounge maintains the odds for winners:                 

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The round-up of various links covering Cannes:

Screendaily still has paywalls, but if you click on the reviews, they are at least temporarily open to the public: 

The Hollywood Reporter at Cannes: 

David Hudson does all the links for each review at Fandor: 

The Film Center’s Barbara Scharres, Ben Kenigsberg and Chaz Ebert at Cannes from the Roger Ebert blog: 
a round-up of Cannes news and reviews from indieWIRE: 

The Guardian collection of reviews: 

Mike D’Angelo back at The Onion A.V. Club:

Sophie Monks Kaufman and David Jenkins from Little White Lies: 

Daniel Kasman, Adam Cook, and likely others at Mubi Notebook: 

Fabien Lemercier at Cineuropa: 

Sukhdev Sandhu and Robbie Collins from The Daily Telegraph: 

Slant magazine at Cannes: 

Eric Lavallee and Nicholas Bell from Ioncinema: 

Various writers at Twitch: 

And, of course, George is back at Cannes this year, where he finds off the beaten track film fare:

As the minutes passed and the jury had yet to arrive for its post-Awards Ceremony press conference speculation ran rampant that they'd been abducted by Germans upset with their total disregard of “Toni Erdmann” or had fled town to avoid having to explain their shocking choices. The press corps was so bored awaiting the arrival of the jury they turned their cameras on Ralph and me asking our opinion of the awards.  

Arguments raged over which was the most bewildering of their choices.  Was it Dolan’s film receiving the Grand Prix or Erdmann receiving nothing or the Iranian film receiving two awards or Assayas being given the best director award or the choice of the Palme d’Or or the choice of the best actress or Jarmusch being ignored.  The jury had made such a mess of the awards it was being compared to the Sean Penn catastrophe.  Had Cannes fallen into a black hole or Lars Von Trier inflicted it with a curse that had sent it spiraling totally out of its orbit as the most respected film festival on the planet?

When the jury finally strolled in to the press room nearly half an hour late it was all smiles as if unaware of the maelstrom they had generated.  They all gushed at what a fantastic experience it had been being on the jury.  President George Miller called it one of the best experiences one could have.  Donald Sutherland said when he got on the plane tomorrow he’d miss it.  As for their choices, they said they had all been vigorously and rigorously arrived at and felt proud of them all.  “Nothing was left unsaid,” Miller said.  

But what about Erdmann someone asked.  Miller pled confidentiality.  He didn’t wish to get into specifics on why any film didn’t win an award, saying there are twenty-one films in Competition all of which thought they deserved recognition with an award of some sort and they were only seven on offer .   That didn’t explain why they gave “The Salesman” two awards, other than there was an Iranian on the jury who must have been a force to be reckoned with similar to Salma Hayek on the jury that gave Tommie Lee Jones’ “Three Burials” two awards.  Shahab Hosseini was certainly worthy of the best actor award, but the screenplay could have gone to any number of the overlooked films. It seemed to have been given more on reputation than merit to the film’s director Ashgar Farhadi.

I watched the film a second time today after the awards ceremony as I had been perplexed by some inexplicable elements in the story.  They seemed even more blatantly false on a second viewing.  The husband’s rage at a feeble, old man who inadvertently startled his wife seems even more misplaced.  It was inexplicable that he never used a police contact to trace the license plate of the man he was seeking, instead just hoping he’d return for his truck, though he didn’t even have a continual watch on it, so when it does disappear he only finds the owner by a miraculous stroke of luck.  It was inexplicable too that the old man would have left his keys and phone in their apartment and didn’t immediately return for his truck with another set of keys, especially since his future son-in-law needed the truck for his job delivering bread.  And there is a lot more.

The two awards to “The Salesman” didn’t irk people though as much as Xavier Dolan winning the Grand Prix for “Its Only the End of the World.”   Manohla Dargis had written in the New York Times earlier in the day that it was among three films she deemed so bad they didn’t deserve to be in Competition.  They others were Sean Penn’s “The Last Face” and “The Neon Demon.”  I had an opportunity to see Dolan’s film a second time before the Awards Ceremony and enjoyed it much more than I had the first time.  I had stood in line two hours to see it the first time at the end of the day and was too fatigued to fully focus on its barrage of dialogue.  I could much more appreciate Dolan’s camera work and what was being said.  Jury member László Nemes, who won the Grand Prix last year for “Son of Saul,” said he could feel the distinctive voice of Dolan from the very start of the film.  

Nemes too might have been a strong supporter of the Philippine film “Ma’ Rosa” that I saw for the first time today, the only Competition film that I had missed.  I was so awed by the cinema verité by the veteran Brillante Mendoza of this story of a husband and wife who run a small store in the ghettos of Manila selling drugs on the side that it could win the Palm d’Or or at least best director award.  It was a more powerful and heartrending tale of institutional corruption than the Romanian “Graduation” that had been my favorite for the top prize.  The performances of the entire cast were breathtakingly exceptional.  None stood out above another, so it was a shock that it was given the best actress award.  The actress herself was utterly stunned.  Her acceptance speech was a continual refrain of “I can’t believe this,” and a string of thank yous, interrupted by another “I can’t believe this.”  It was one of the all-time great acceptance speeches comparable to the best at the Oscars.

Ken Loach gave a heartfelt speech as well, half in French and half in English, lamenting these times of forced austerity that are bringing the world to near catastrophe after accepting his second Palme d’Or for “I, Daniel Blake.” He castigated the “tiny few with grotesque wealth” and the right taking advantage of hard times to inflict even more pain on the have-nots.  I stood in line today with a young man who saw his movie earlier in the day.  He said it was the first film he had seen in the festival that touched him and brought him to tears.  It was a sentiment shared by many.

Cristian Mungiu didn’t seem happy at all with his best director award for “Graduation” having hopes of becoming a rare two-time Palme d’Or winner.  He has served on the Cannes jury.  He turned to them during his speech and said, “I know it’s difficult to make a fair decision, so I thank you for doing your best.”  He shared the award with Olivier Assayas, whose supernatural thriller “Personnel Shopper” turned off many, especially among the panel of fifteen French critics who rate the films.  Eight of them gave it zero stars, the most of any film other than Penn’s, a near unanimous zero star movie.

I’ve mentioned all the awards except the Jury Prize, won by Andrea Arnold for the third time for “American Honey.” I was hoping she might be acknowledged with a Best Director award for her extraordinary handling of a cast of non- actors galvanating about the American west selling magazine subscriptions, but it was a delight that she received anything as opinion was divided on this movie as well.  I could take small satisfaction too that the jury agreed with my view of “Toni Erdmann” and Jarmsuch’s “Patterson” that they were not fully realized films and more audience pleasers than substantial fare.  They had been the two highest rated films by the Screen panel, but as is frequently the case, did not stand up to the scrutiny of the jury.

Now I will begin movie-withdrawal as I return to the bike as I begin training for The Tour de France five weeks away.  I won’t see another movie for two months, but the sixty-six movies I’ve seen in the past twelve days will be rattling around in my thought for days to come.  

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