Audiard’s ‘Dheepan’ wins Palme d’Or in upset Cannes finale

The 68th Cannes Film Festival was brought to a surprising close Sunday with Jacques Audiardand’s Sri Lankan refugee drama taking the festivaland’s coveted top honor, the Palme dand’Or.
The choice of and”Dheepan,and” as selected by a jury led by Joel and Ethan Coen, left some critics scratching their heads. While the dapper French filmmaker has drawn widespread acclaim for films such as and”A Prophetand” and and”Rust and Bone,and” some critics were disappointed by the thriller climax of Audiardand’s film. and”Dheepanand” is about a trio of Sri Lankans who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country and are settled in a violent housing project outside Paris.
and”This isnand’t a jury of film critics,and” Joel Coen told reporters after the awards ceremony, alongside fellow jurors like Guillermo del Toro and Jake Gyllenhaal. and”This is a jury of artists who are looking at the work.and”
The win for and”Dheepanand” comes at a time when Europe is particularly attuned to the experience of immigrants, following the recent deaths of hundreds crossing the Mediterranean, seeking Italian shores. Jury members, though, said and”Dheepanand” was chosen for its overall strength as a film, rather than any topicality.
and”We all thought it was a very beautiful movie,and” said Ethan Coen, calling the decision and”swift.and” and”Everyone had some high level of excitement and enthusiasm for it.and”
Audiard, springing to the podium at the Palais des Festivals, accepted the award with warm gratitude, bowing to the jury. He was joined by the makeshift parents of his film: Kalieaswari Srinivasan and Antonythasan Jesuthasan, who himself was a Tamil Tiger child soldier before finding political asylum in France.
and”To receive a prize from the Coen brothers is exceptional,and” said Audiard, who added that only receiving one from Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne, the Belgian filmmaking siblings, could equal it.
h2and’Something that lives with usand’h2
The runner-up prize, the Grand Prix, went to and”Son of Saul,and” a grim Holocaust drama by first-time Hungarian director Landaacuteszlandoacute Nemes. Some expected Nemesand’ horrifying plunge into the life of an Auschwitz worker to take the top award, but itand’s been 26 years since a debut film (Steven Soderberghand’s and”Sex, Lies, and Videotapeand”) was given the Palme.
English actress Sienna Miller and Canadian actor Xavier Dolan, both jury members, sounded especially moved by and”Son of Saul.and” Miller called it and”breathtakingand” and an extraordinary accomplishment for a first-time filmmaker.
and”Europe is still haunted by the destruction of the European Jews,and” said Nemes. and”Thatand’s something that lives with us.and”
Hou Hsiao-Hsien, the masterful 68-year-old Taiwanese filmmaker, won best director for his first feature in eight years: and”The Assassin,and” a lushly painterly martial arts drama.
The best actress prize was split but not the way some expected. It was given to both Rooney Mara, half of the romantic pair of Todd Haynesand’ and’50s lesbian drama and”Carol,and” and Emmanuelle Bercot, the French star of the roller coaster marriage drama and”My King.and” (Bercot also directed the festival opener, and”Standing Tall,and” about a delinquent teenager.) Any split was presumed to go to Mara and her and”Caroland” co-star, Cate Blanchett.
Best actor was awarded to Vincent Lindon, the veteran French actor of Standeacutephane Brizandeacuteand’s and”The Measure of a Man.and” He plays a man struggling to make a living after a long period of unemployment. The visibly moved Lindon won over some big-name competition, including Michael Caine, the star of Paolo Sorrentinoand’s unrewarded and”Youth,and” a wry, melancholy portrait of old age.
Lindonand’s award added to a banner year at Cannes for France, which had five films out of the 19 in competition and went home with three awards.
Yorgos Lanthimos, a Greek filmmaker working in English for the first time, took the jury prize for his and”The Lobster,and” a deadpan dystopian comedy, starring Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz, about a near-future where unmarried singles are turned into the animal of their choice.
and”Chronic,and” an understated drama about a home-care nurse (Tim Roth) for the terminally ill, took best screenplay for Mexican writer-director Michel Franco. Franco and Roth met three years ago when Roth, serving on a Cannes jury, helped award Franco the Un Certain Regard prize. and”Itand’s a Cannes story,and” said Franco.
The Camera dand’Or, Cannes award for best first feature film, went to and”La Tierra Y la Sombra.and” Candeacutesar Augusto Acevedoand’s debut, which played in the Critics Week section, is about an old farmer returning home to tend to his gravely ill son.
The Coens themselves took the Palme in 1991 for and”Barton Fink.and” The last two Cannes winners have been three-hour art-house epics: the glacial Turkish drama and”Winter Sleep,and” chosen last year by Jane Campionand’s jury, and and”Blue is the Warmest Color,and” as picked by Steven Spielbergand’s jury.
h2A so-so yearh2
This yearand’s competition slate left some critics calling it a so-so year for Cannes. Some of the films that drew the biggest raves (and”Mad Max: Fury Road,and” Pixarand’s and”Inside Outand”) played out of competition, while some in it (like Gus Van Santand’s and”The Sea of Treesand”) drew loud boos.
The festival was dominated by discussion about gender equality with many — from Blanchett to Jane Fonda — speaking about female opportunity in the movie business. and”You hope itand’s not just the year,and” said Blanchett of the attention to women in film. and”Itand’s not some sort of fashionable moment.and”
An honorary Palme dand’Or was also given to French filmmaker Agnes Varda, the first woman to receive one, and only the fourth director after Woody Allen, Clint Eastwood and Bernardo Bertolucci.
But the festival was overrun by an unlikely scandal when several women were turned away from the formal premiere of Todd Haynesand’ and”Caroland” for wearing flat shoes, rather than high heels. The festival insisted it was the mistake of overzealous security guards and not part of Cannesand’ notoriously strict dress code.
The festival, as it often is, was dominated by the unexpected, even on its last night. Nothing was more unforeseen — not even the Palme for and”Dheepanand” — than John C. Reilly, a co-star of and”The Lobsterand” and another competition entry, and”Tale of Tales,and” took the stage to sing and”Just a Gigoloand” in a bright white suit.
hr h2Penguin film director gives climate warning in Cannes closerh2 The French director who charmed the world and won an Oscar with his 2005 documentary and”March of the Penguinsand” closed the Cannes Film Festival on a somber note with a film about global warming that says not only the penguins should be worried.
Luc Jacquetand’s and”La Glace et le Cieland” (The Ice and the Sky), was not in competition. It was screened after the Palme dand’Or winner was announced on Sunday night.
The film is a portrait of the octogenarian French glaciologist Claude Lorius who, from the age of 23, made more than 20 polar expeditions, most of them to Antarctica.
Making extensive use of archival footage, the film shows Lorius heading off on his first expedition to Franceand’s Charcot base in the Antarctic, and the hazards of working in temperatures that sometimes plunged to -90 Celsius.
It shows Lorius and his colleagues surviving the successive wrecks of two American transport planes that crashed while trying to take off in the Antarctic, luckily causing no injuries.
The film also contains an unnerving, tracking shot that starts on what looks like a vast expanse of polar ice but quickly shows the ice sagging, melting and finally rushing out from under the ice cap as a turbulent stream.
The filmand’s message is that the earth is warming up faster than it has in hundreds of millennia.
Lorius bases this assertion on his analysis of samples obtained by drilling thousands of feet below the polar ice cap, some of them up to 800,000 years old.
From the isotopes of hydrogen in the samples, Lorius says he can determine the ambient temperature when the ice was formed.
At one point, he realized how much more information the samples contained when he put shavings of ice in his whisky and saw bubbles released — bubbles which contained air from tens of thousands of years earlier.
The film, with its unabashedly pro-environmental agenda, ends by posing the question: and”Now that you know, what will you do?and”
Lorius gives his own optimistic forecast. Mankind, he says, always rises to the challenge.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman