Posted on 5.24.15, following the end of last year’s Cannes Film Festival: “Giving the Palme d’Or to Jacques Audiard‘s respectable but far-from-stellar Dheepan was a huge forehead-slapper. Laszlo Nemes‘ Son of Saul, which won the second-place Grand Prix award, would have been a far more deserving recipient; ditto Todd Haynes‘ Carol, which many fell to their knees over. (A producer pal: ‘Every year the Cannes critics rave about a film like Carol, so then the Jury goes out of its way to not to give it a prize. It’s as if they have to defy the pure merit of it all just so as to not appear ‘populist.’)
“I’m telling you that nobody and I mean nobody expected Dheepan to win anything, much less the Palme d’Or. In this sense it’s fair to say that the Cannes Jury (chaired by Joel and Ethan Coen) was completely divorced from a perceptual reality shared by nearly every journalist I talked to during the festival. Nobody even fantasized about Dheepan emerging as the Big Winner…nobody.
Journalists: “Dheepan is easily the least distinguished of Audiard’s last three films — a good or even a pretty good film but far from exceptional. At best a modest achievement.” Ethan Coen: ‘[The jury’s reaction to Dheepan] was swift…everybody had an enthusiasm for it. To some degree or another we all thought it was a very beautiful movie. We’re different people, some people had greater enthusiasms for other things or lesser, but in terms of this movie, everybody had some level of excitement, some high level of excitement and enthusiasm for it.’ There was no overlap here.
“In other words, Cannes journalists were on one planet and the jury was on another.”
Sundance Selects will open Dheepan domestically on 5.13.16.