Steven Soderbergh‘s Che, my choice for the most exciting and far-reaching film of the Cannes Film Festival, didn’t win the Palme d’Or this evening. Lamentable, dispiriting news. Instead the jury gave the coveted top prize to Laurent Cantet‘s justly admired Entre Les Murs. I was wandering around Montmartre when the news broke, and when I heard it I just swore to myself and put it out of my mind and kept waking. I didn’t have my computer with me and I didn’t care.
At least the gifted Benicio del Toro won the Best Actor prize for his portrayal of Che Guevara in the twin Soderbergh films.
Cantet has everyone’s respect, but to me his films have always seemed more quietly admirable than arousing. I’ve never gotten a lightning-bolt charge from anything he’s done. I just feel let down about this, knowing what a Palme d’Or win might have done to at least partly help Che‘s chances in finding the right U.S. distribution deal. I’m obviously thinking politically, and this just doesn’t feel right. Sean Penn and the jury members went with their idea of the best film of the festival, and that’s cool. Entre Les Murs will play at elite art theatres when it opens in the U.S. for two or three or four weeks. Connoisseurs of first-rate French cinema will pay to see it. Terrific.
Congrats to Matteo Garrone‘s Gamorra, which everyone liked for the most part, for winning the Grand Prix. And double congrats to Three MonkeysNuri Bilge Ceylan for winning the Best Director prize. A Jury Prize went to Paolo Sorrentino‘s Il Divo. Sandra Corveloni won Best Actress for her work in Walter SallesLinha de Passe, and the Best Screenplay award went to Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne‘s Lorna’s Silence. (Sorry, but I don’t agree with that one at all — the Lorna story did not end on a satisfying note.) The Cameras d’Or prize went to Steve McQueen‘s Hunger.
The jury obviously wanted to be magnanimous by giving a little something to everyone. They succeeded.