Daily Archives: May 25, 2008

Closing Ceremonies: Cannes 2008

Film-geek Francophiles everywhere rejoice!

For the first time since 1987, a French film, “The Class” — a drama about a teacher challenged by his tough, inner-city students in one of Paris’ roughest junior high schools — has taken home the prestigious Palm d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Rock on, Frenchies!

And that was the first of many surprising wins at this afternoon’s closing ceremonies, where the Jury seemed to take iconoclastic Jury President Sean Penn’s recent statements to French daily Le Monde to heart.

Urging his fellow jurors to “do just the opposite” of the Oscars “where manipulation and very good marketing are rewarded” Penn implored the Cannes jury to honor compelling, unconventional films instead, and man alive, did they take his advice to heart!

And not only are the winners interesting and totally unique — I’m not entirely sure what short film winners “Megatron” and “Jerrycan” are about, but cool titles! — but the presenters were even cooler.

Not only did two-time Oscar-winner Robert DeNiro hand out the award for the Palm d’Or to director Laurent Cantet (he’s the grey-haired dude in the pics with his “The Class” cast, above), but legendary expatriate — a previous Palm d’Or and Oscar-winner for “The Pianist” — director Roman Polanski presented the Grand Prix award to Italy’s Matteo Garrone for “Gomarra”. Cool!

And while I’m sure conspiracy theorists will have a field day with the fact that two of Monsieur Penn’s famous friends took home major awards — Benecio Del Toro for Best Actor in Steven Soderberg’s four hour-plus “Che” and Special Jury Award winner Clint Eastwood for his upcoming film “Changeling” — I like to think the jury did the right thing.

So, check out the complete list (and mad links!) of 2008’s Cannes winners below, and until next year’s shiny festival on the Riviera…vive le France!

PALME D’OR
“The Class” directed by Laurent Cantet

SPECIAL JURY AWARDS
Catherine Deneuve and Clint Eastwood

GRAND PRIZE
“Gomorra” directed by Matteo Garrone

BEST DIRECTOR
Nuri Bilge Ceylan, for “Three Monkeys”

BEST SCREENPLAY
Brothers, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, for “Lorna’s Silence”

BEST ACTOR
Benicio Del Toro, in “Che”

BEST ACTRESS
Sandra Corveloni, in “Linha de Passe”

CAMERA D’OR
“Hunger” directed by Steve McQueen

CAMERA D’OR SPECIAL MENTION
“Everybody Dies But Me” by Valeria Ga├» Guermanika

BEST SHORT FILM
“Megatron” by Marian Crisan

SHORT FILM SPECIAL MENTION
“Jerrycan” by Julius Avery

SPECIAL JURY PRIZE
“Il Divo” by Paolo Sorrentino

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under See

Abel Ferrara @ Cannes

Even though I am not a huge fan of his strange, but often-interesting films, and his teeth in the pictures below kind of scare the hell out of me, I gotta say that for the first time in years, controversial writer/director Abel Ferrara and I see eye to eye on something…

But before we get to that, a little background on the freaky-deaky indie icon himself. The quintessential New Yorker, Ferrara, like so many offbeat American directors, is kind of worshiped by the French. Not only has he been a regular fixture at Cannes over the years, but several of Ferrara’s recent films — which have never even had a theatrical release in the U.S. — premiered in France.

So it was no surprise to see him soaking up the French love on the red carpet for the world premiere of his latest cinematic opus, the star-studded documentary “Chelsea on the Rocks”. Detailing the gloriously seedy past and uncertain future of this landmark NYC hotel, the doc is said to contain some of Ferrara’s best work to date…so, rock on, Abel!

But the biggest shocker to come out of Mr. Ferrara’s multiple press conferences at Cannes was the news that someone is inexplicably remaking his twisted masterpiece “Bad Lieutenant”. Yep, you heard me…remaking! Insane, non?

Even more surprising is the talent attached. The new version of Ferrara’s 1992 classic is going to be directed by German “madman with a camera” Werner Herzog with…hold onto your tainted badges, folks…Oscar-winner Nicolas Cage starring as the titular police man. Yep, Jerry Bruckheimer’s hambone royale himself is gonna be tackling what is arguably one of Harvey Keitel’s finest cinematic performances.

My question is…why, God, why? I mean, love it or hate it — we did both, sometimes at the very same time — the infamous “Bad Lieutenant” is one of the most well-regarded independent films of the 1990’s, so, if you ask me, remaking it is kind of a sacrilege.

And with Nicolas Cage no less!? Yikes…here’s hoping Herzog does the world a favor and cuts that whole full-frontal nude scene…

And though I’m not quite as passionate as Mr. Ferrara is on the subject — he told the French press on Friday that the people involved should “die in hell” and vowed to “strangle every one of them” if he ever sees them again — I understand the dude’s outrage. I mean, really, any way you look at it, this lame, totally unnecessary remake is gonna suck some serious ass. I say…long live the original flawed masterpiece that is Abel Ferrara’s “Bad Lieutenant”.

And while I wait to check out his cool-sounding “Chelsea on the Rocks” documentary for myself…here’s to you, crazy old Abel Ferrara, late night genre movies would be a very boring place without you!

2 Comments

Filed under See