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Sunday, May 22, 2011
Day 11: Palme Dog
Day 11, May 21
It's almost over! The Bangkok tin mine is waiting for me!
The Palme d'Or will be announced Sunday night around 8pm (1am in Thailand). The Palme Dog, however, was already announced -- yes, there's a prize for best canine performance in film, a kind of adorable spoof that should please dog lovers (what about cats!?) -- and the winner, deservedly, is the dog from "The Artist". Felicitations, mate.
The Queer Palm, another unofficial prize, was also announced, and the winner is the South African film "Beauty", which tells the story of a racist roughneck who struggles against his feeling toward a pretty young boy. I find the film quite dour and skin-deep, save for one intense scene in a Cape Town hotel room.
For the official prizes, the Un Certain Regard already celebrated its winners a few hours back. This year Emir Kusturica chairs the jury for Un Certain Regard, Cannes's sidebar section that generally features upcoming directors or established ones with a unique style. Nine years ago, Apichatpong Weerasethakul won this prize that heralded his arrival in the internatinal film scene that culminated in his Palme d'Or triumph in 2010. This year, the top prizes is split between the Andreas Dresen's "Stopped on Track", about the last month in the life of a cancer patient, and "Arirang", an experimental self-portrait by Korean director Kim Ki-duk (urgh). I saw both, and let's say I prefer other films in this section, but congratulations to the winners anyway.
It's a useless yet irresistible activity to guess tomorrow's Palme d'Or winner, the world's most respected cinema trophy, and since there's no Thai contender this year, the stake feels less exciting. I'm not going to venture into the business of speculating the winners in each category (Palme d'Or, Grand Prix (second prize), Best Actor, Best Actress, etc), but I'll share the list of my top films in the festival. Cannes is special because it only show premieres -- the film shown here must not be shown anywhere else before -- and I hope these films will find its way to Bangkok, or to your DVD player, some time soon.
Cannes 2011 top 10 films (not in any particular order)
1."Le Havre" by Aki Kaurismaki (the director is Finnish, though the film, a comedy about a shoeshine and an immigrant boy, is in French. In Competition.
2. "The Tree of Life" by Terrence Malick (this film by an American director will certainly split audiences and critics around the world). In Competition.
3. "Drive" by Nicolas Winding Refn (the director is Danish, though he's made films in America and Europe. His early film "Pusher" was shown at Bangkok Intl Film Festival in early 2000s). In Competition.
4. "Duch: Master of the Forges of Hell" by Rithy Panh (the Paris-based Cambodian director interviewed a former warden of a Khmer Rouge prison). Out of Competition.
5. "Hard Labour" or "Trabalhar Cansa" by Brazillian Juliana Rojas and Marco Dutra. This is the film about a haunted supermarket and the ghost of slavery. Un Certain Regard.
6. "Miss Bala" by Mexican Gerardo Naranjo. A girl wants to be a beauty queen but becomes a pawn in a cross-border gangster activities instead. Un Certain Regard.
7. "This Is Not a Film" by Jafar Panah and Mojtaba Mirtahmasb. Panahi has been house arrested in Tehran -- this is the film he made in his house, with a help from a friend. Out of Competition.
8. "The Kid With a Bike" by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne. Another solid film from the Belgian brothers who won the Palme d'Or twice already. In Competition.
9. "Elena" by Andrey Zviagintsev (the Russian director gives us a chilling portrait of new Russia throug the story of an old welathy tycoon and his wife). Un Certain Regard.
10. "Tatsumi" by Eric Khoo (the Singaporean director tells the life story of a Japanese comic book artist). Un Certain Regard.
I doubt if Robert De Niro and his jury will share my view, but let's see tomorrow.
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