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Tracking Cannes 2005
Uma da Cunha in Cannes |
May 30, 2005 15:03 IST
Uma da Cunha, the wellknown casting director without whose guidance movies like Octopussy, The Sea Wolves, Holy Smoke, Monsoon Wedding etc would not have been made, was a keen observer at Cannes 2005. In this feature, exclusive to rediff.com, she record her impressions about the most prestigious film festival in the world.
Films in competition at the 58th Cannes Film Festival this year expressed just a handful of themes, instead of the immense diversity of other years. A journalist asked why this happened at the jury's post-awards press conference.
Film after film bespoke the need for parenting, especially the father's role, or they were road films, with strangers behind the wheel ordering a person's mindset, or people in humdrum suburban life were suddenly visited by the unknown and eerie, or 'nobody-is-what they-seem.'
Jury President Emir Kusturica said these subjects reflect the undercover insecurities of our existence today. They are valid themes
Cannes 2005: The Full Coverage
At the start of the festival, he had said the jury would look for such reality in the films, along with 'good aesthetics (form) and comprehension by the public.' The Palmares (awards) were in line with these criteria.
The Palme d'Or winner L'Enfant (The Child), from the Dardennes brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc (Belgium), is a film about a 20-year-old person, living on petty crime, forced to face the emotional responsibility of unexpected fatherhood with his 18-year-old girlfriend.
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The film is inspired by Dostovesky's Crime and Punishment and Robert Bresson's Pickpocket. This was the brothers' second Palme d'Or. Their Rosetta, which won in 1999, looked at the searing world of unemployment in Belgium from a woman's point of view.
The Grand Prix winner, Jim Jarmusch's Broken Flowers -- for many, the film that should have won the top prize -- shows a return to this director's penchant for poignant comedy. In this film, the poker-faced melancholy of actor Bill Murray, as an ageing Lothario, is wonderfully used. He goes off on an insane road journey searching for a 19-year-old son he may have fathered. He finds not the son but himself -- and an unsuspected parental yearning.
The Jury Prize went to Wang Xiaoshuai (right)'s wistfully evocative Shanghai Dreams, on the strict social taboos that a father inflicts on his daughter. They lead her to attempt suicide, a theme that echoes the larger issues of strictures on the individual in provincial China of the 1980s.
The Best Director Award went to Austrian Michael Hanake for Hidden, a strong favourite, his fourth French-language film. Set in Paris, the film follows a television presenter and his family who are sent covertly shot videos of their home and lives. The film unfurls France's treatment of its Algerian minority, also the protagonist's involvement and prejudices.
The Best Actor award went to Tommy Lee Jones (above, top) for the film he also directed, The Three Burials Of Melquiados Estrida. The film follows a Texas ranch foreman who makes it his mission to set right the thoughtless killing of his Mexican colleague by an over-zealous border patrolman. Although he finds that he has befriended a man who lived a pipe-dream in his personal life, the film ends on a positive note of self-discovery on both warring sides.
The strict rules applied in Cannes led to this film being withdrawn for the Camera d'Or award given to first-time filmmakers. It was learnt that Lee had directed a television feature film earlier. Two other directors were also debarred last-minute for similar reasons: James March with his Un Certain Regard entry 'The King' and Karin Albou's La Petit Jerusalem in the Critics Week.
Hannah Laslo won Best Actor (Feminine) for her role in Amos Gitai's disappointingly didactic film on self-eroding middle-east fanaticism, Free Zone.