Silent Light – The Mourning Forest – The Diving Bell and the Butterfly – You, the Living – Jellyfish – 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days – Zodiac

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Other Fests: Venice / Chicago

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Jurors: Stephen Frears (president), Marco Bellocchio, Maggie Cheung, Toni Collette, Maria de Medeiros, Orhan Pamuk, Michel Piccoli, Sarah Polley, Abderrahmane Sissako
 

 
Palme d'Or:4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days, Romania, dir. Cristian Mungiu
Grand Jury Prize:The Mourning Forest, Japan, dir. Naomi Kawase
Jury Prize:Persepolis, France, dirs. Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud
Silent Light, Mexico, dir. Carlos Reygadas
Best Director:The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Julian Schnabel
Best Actress:Secret Sunshine, Jeon Do-yeon
Best Actor:The Banishment, Konstantin Lavronenko
Best Screenplay:The Edge of Heaven, Fatih Akin
60th Anniversary Prize:Paranoid Park, Gus Van Sant
Technical Grand Prize:The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Janusz Kaminski, cinematographer
FIPRESCI/International
    Critics Prize:
4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days, Romania, dir. Cristian Mungiu
Prize of the Ecumenical Jury:The Edge of Heaven, Germany, dir. Fatih Akin
Camera d'Or (first feature): Jellyfish, Israel, dirs. Etgar Keret and Shira Geffen



Competition Films I Have Seen:
Ranked in order of preference
 
My Palme d'Or
4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days (Romania, dir. Cristian Mungiu) - Excellent, fresh, suspenseful; phenomenally assured acting and direction, and mature collapsing of any line between politics and "real life"

We Own the Night (USA, dir. James Gray) - Unpretentiously gripping police thriller is also subtle, daring, and formally rigorous: a world-class revisiting of B-movie idioms

Alexandra (Russia, dir. Aleksandr Sokurov) - Sokurov may have visual and thematic tics but they work so richly and never seem insincere; a new species of oneiric war film

The Edge of Heaven (Germany, dir. Fatih Akin) - Template of intertwining lives seemed exhausted, but this well-shot, well-acted, well-written drama is elegant and emotionally direct

Secret Sunshine (South Korea, dir. Lee Chang-dong) - Uneven contrivances, less bracing than Oasis, but still a gutsy, restlessly agnostic maternal melo. Jeon is great.

Zodiac (USA, dir. David Fincher) - Fantastic in concept and retrospect, if somewhat wearying and patchy in the moment; kudos for playing smartly against serial-killer grain (full review)

The Mourning Forest (Japan, dir. Naomi Kawase) - Enigmatic and austere in story, but gorgeous in color and crystalline in structure; not for everyone, but why won't niche distribs touch it?

No Country for Old Men (USA, dirs. Joel and Ethan Coen) - Coens adapt script in register of philosophical ambition and direct with mind on brute suspense; both tracks engage but don't always jell

Silent Light (Mexico, dir. Carlos Reygadas) - Lensing as ace as you've heard, almost as if fishing for compliments; story barely supports such meticulous filming, but easily worth a look

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (France, dir. Julian Schnabel) - Another bio from Schnabel that accommodates gifts for color, light, flamboyant show-pieces, cloaking shaky script and iffy grasp of structure

Persepolis (France, dirs. Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud) - Visually ingratiating with well-written scenes; not filmmakers' fault that they can't presume informed audience, but feels a bit low-balled

The Banishment (Russia, dir. Andrei Zvyagintsev) - Zvyagintsev is great at mood, framing, implication. But unlike Return or Elena, second film feels heavy, overdrawn.

Paranoid Park (USA, dir. Gus Van Sant) - Van Sant's apex? Really? Fine work, but sonic, visual, and montage motifs from preceding films pushed too insistently, hung on weak story

Death Proof (USA, dir. Quentin Tarantino) - Can't handle this without merry Planet Terror to build up good will; formal tension soured by bloated first hour, unsettling glee in sadism

My Blueberry Nights (USA/Hong Kong, dir. Wong Kar-wai) - Implies intriguing potentials for Wong amid looser community, under bigger sky, but mostly clichéd; actors elated to be cast but driftless

The Last Mistress (France, dir. Catherine Breillat) - Drably costumey, momentum stalled, story threadbare, Argento and Aattou flat; only Claude Sarraute works, but her role is too confined



Sidebar Selections I Have Seen:
Ranked in order of preference
 
You, the Living (Un Certain Regard: Sweden, dir. Roy Andersson) - Andersson's tableaux mordants are ingeniously contrived but also accumulate rich, surprising poignancy along with howling laughs

Zoo (Directors' Fortnight: USA, dir. Robinson Devor) - Tasked to build doc around wholly obfuscated incident, Devor resists judgment and reimagines the form, achieving eerie, lyrical ghost story

A Mighty Heart (Out of Competition: UK/USA, dir. Michael Winterbottom) - So much more than an Oscar play or "biopic"; Jolie, film both smart and wrenching, with director's usual acumen for taking global pulse

Savage Grace (Directors' Fortnight: USA, dir. Tom Kalin) - Key is not to expect psychological penetration of lurid real-life tale; film thrills as a series of sharp, hot, opaque stabs at its subject

Flight of the Red Balloon (Un Certain Regard: France, dir. Hou Hsiao-hsien) - Glassy remoteness of other Hou films livens a bit here; who'd have guessed he was the man to loosen up Binoche so gloriously?

Boarding Gate (Out of Competition: France, dir. Olivier Assayas) - Maintains auteur's fascination with creepy side of modern, global industry, but a self-conscious retreat from demonlover ambitions

Control (Directors' Fortnight: UK, dir. Anton Corbijn) - Dwindles into tweedy Wife vs. Girlfriend conflict, but Corbijn finds continuity and contrast between punk highs and working-class anomie (full review)

Ocean's Thirteen (Out of Competition: USA, dir. Steven Soderbergh) - Gang refreshed from Twelve but still missing Eleven magic; Barkin an unnerving presence; color, light raised to avant-garde abstraction

The 11th Hour (Special Screening: USA, dirs. Nadia Conners and Leila Conners Petersen) - Makes potent, hard-to-argue case about ecology on brink of collapse; mere weeks later, though, hard to recall one image not of Leo

Jellyfish (Critics' Week: Israel, dirs. Etgar Keret and Shira Geffen) - Like a short-story collection alternating among realist and lightly abstracted modes; piquant, uneven, but grows on you

Terror's Advocate (Un Certain Regard: France, dir. Barbet Schroeder) - Assembly somewhat scattershot, as though Schroeder is encountering significant limits in access, though this augments creepy thesis

XXY (Critics' Week: Argentina, dir. Lucía Puenzo) - Gutsy, candid portrait of intersexed teen, though film needs more shaping; not sure about sea life as key metaphor, but film looks good (full review)

Sicko (Out of Competition: USA, dir. Michael Moore) - Starts with some of Moore's best-ever footage and explication, before giving way to outrageous and frankly insulting simplifications

The Band's Visit (Un Certain Regard: Israel, dir. Eran Kolirin) - An appealing film, and absolutely nothing wrong with cozying up to a broad audience; charming but tiny, with no sense of excitement



Competition Films I'm Curious to See:
Ranked in order of interest; more on this year's lineup here (opens in a new window)
 
Import/Export, Austria, dir. Ulrich Seidl
The Man from London, Hungary, dir. Béla Tarr
Breath, South Korea, dir. Kim Ki-duk
Love Songs, France, dir. Christophe Honoré

Also in Competition: Promise Me This, Serbia/France, dir. Emir Kusturica
Tehilim, France/Israel, dir. Raphaël Nadjari


Sidebar Films I'm Curious to See:
Listed alphabetically; more on this year's lineup here (opens in a new window)
 
Un Certain Regard: Actresses, France, dir. Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi
Mister Lonely, USA, dir. Harmony Korine
Munyurangabo, Rwanda, dir. Lee Isaac Chung
My Brother Is an Only Child, Italy, dir. Daniele Luccheti
Water Lilies, France, dir. Céline Sciamma
Directors' Fortnight: All Is Forgiven, France, dir. Mia Hansen-Løve
Après lui, France, dir. Gaël Morel
Before I Forget, France, dir. Jacques Nolot
Caramel, Lebanon, dir. Nadine Labaki
Chop Shop, USA, dir. Ramin Bahrani
La France, France, dir. Serge Bozon
Heartbeat Detector, France, dir. Nicolas Klotz
A Lost Man, Lebanon/France, dir. Danielle Arbid
Ploy, Thailand, dir. Pen-ek Ratanaruang
Smiley Face, USA, dir. Gregg Araki
Out of Competition: Back to Normandy, France, dir. Nicolas Philibert
Chacun son cinéma, Miscellaneous, dir. Theo Angelopoulos, et al.
Go Go Tales, USA/Italy, dir. Abel Ferrara
Roman de Gare, France, dir. Claude Lelouch

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