Sunday, May 25, 2008

61st Cannes Winners Spread Among Countries

The 61st Cannes Film Festival, which wrapped today, spread the festival awards among many countries with the biggest winners being France and Italy.

The jury headed by Sean Penn named the French movie THE CLASS (Entre Les Murs), the Palme d’Or (Golden Palm) winner for best film at Cannes. It was directed by Laurent Cantet (TIME OUT, 2001, HUMAN RESOURCES, 1999), and is based on an autobiographical novel by Francois Begaudeau who plays himself as a young French teacher facing a sometimes rebellious class (surprise?).

The Grand Prix runner-up prize went to Italy's GOMORRAH (Gomorra), Matteo Garrone's hard-hitting film about the world of modern day Naples crime families, the principal one being the Camorra family. The movie is based on the book by Neapolitan writer Roberto Saviano.

The second Italian competition entry, IL DIVO, a satire on the life of former prime minister Giulio Andreotti and directed by Paolo Sorrentino, won the jury award.

A special prize was given to screen legend Catherine Deneuve, as well as Clint Eastwood whose film THE EXCHANGE (a.k.a., CHANGELING) was in competition. The Camera d'Or for best new directorial debut went to Britain's Steve McQueen for HUNGER. Yes, that's his name.

The Best Director award went to Turkey's Nuri Bilge Ceylan's dark tale, THREE MONKEYS.

Puerto Rican actor Benicio del Toro was named Best Actor for his portrayal of the Argentine revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara in Steven Soderbergh's epic four-and-a-half hour CHE (USA).

The Best Actress award went to Brazil's Sandra Corveloni. She portrays the trials of a now pregnant mother, who already has four sons, in the popular Brazilian drama LINHA DE PASSE (Line of Passage), co-written and directed by Walter Salles, which is set in the slums of Sao Paulo.

Belgium's Dardenne brothers, Jean-Pierre and Luc, won Best Screenplay for LORNA'S SILENCE. Previously, the brothers have won two Golden Palms together: L' ENFANT (2005) and ROSETTA (1999).

The Federation of International Film Critics (FIPRESCI) awarded their FIPRESCI Prize for "Revolation Film" to Mexican filmmaker Fernando Eimbcke's second feature, LAKE TAHOE. The award was announced 19 May during Critics' Week.

Films receiving this award at Cannes must have won a FIPRESCI at a previous festival during the year, and TAHOE won the FIPRESCI at the Berlinale in Berlin this year. His first film, DUCK SEASON, won the same award during the Cannes Critics' Week in 2004.

For a list of the 22 films in competition, to read more about these films and Cannes, click the link on the right sidebar to access my Film Festivals Page-Part I.

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