Palme d’Or: Ken Loach‘s I, Daniel Blake. HE comment: WHAT? Wrong call, gents. A good film, but not my idea of a really good one, and a long way from greatness. It’s a sturdy, downish Loach-wheelhouse thing about an older craftsman with a heart condition getting the humiliating run-around by the system. The award, I presume, was partly intended as a political statement on behalf of the despairing and dispossessed, and perhaps partly intended as a career achievement award for Loach, as he said his previous film would be his last, etc. Here’s an argument I had with a critic friend about Blake.
Grand Prix: Xavier Dolan, It’s Only The End Of The World. HE reaction: The jury is serious. They really thought this underwhelming pain-in-the-ass film was the second best of the fest. I’m absolutely stunned and appalled. Dolan is an impudent envelope pusher — now this tendency will be even more aggravated. Stop weeping, Xavier. Man up.
Jury Prize: American Honey, dir: Andrea Arnold. HE comment: Divided reactions among journalists/critics but I was down with this film from the get-go.
Best Director: tie between Olivier Assayas, Personal Shopper and Cristian Mungiu, Graduation/Baccalaureat. HE comment: Yes! Shopper was my #1 pick of the festival (I would have given it the Palme d’Or), Graduation was my #2. I love that the jury stood up to the press-screening booers by honoring Assayas.
Best Screenplay: Asghar Farhadi, The Salesman. HE comment: Full, absolute & total approval.
Best Actor: Shahab Hosseini, The Salesman. HE comment: Excellent choice, fully deserved. Earlier today I predicted without much certainty that Paterson‘s Adam Driver would win for Best Actor but then I added, “If it was my call I’d give the award to The Salesman‘s Shahab Hosseini.”
Best Actress: Jaclyn Jose, Ma Rosa. HE comment: I avoided the Mendoza so no comment. Jose overdid the teary, cracky-voiced emotional surprise. (Read: Sally Field, Halle Berry‘s speeches after winning their Best Actress Oscars.) “Oh, they chose me!…oh, oh, oh!…I can’t believe this is really happening!,” etc.
All hail the dismissal of Toni Erdmann, which I hated. Almost the entire press gang was predicting it would win the Palme d’Or. Egg yolk! Okay, not egg yolk but sublime satisfaction in this corner.