After eleven days of screenings, crowds, screams, talks, questions, answers, joys, sorrows, satisfaction and disappointments, the time has arrived for Smiles, hand shakes, hugs and kisses – it is the awards night at Cannes and all the awards are taken.
South Korean Bong Joon-Ho’s tragi-comedy PARASITE in which the filmmaker juxtaposes a poor, talented, close knit and aspiring family living in the basement with a rich, naïve, clueless family living in a mansion was adjudged the best film by the Jury led by Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu and lifted the Golden Palm, the first ever for South Korea and the director. The French Actress Catherine Deneuve along with Inarritu presented the Award to Bong Joon-Ho.
A couple of days back, during the screening of the film, the theatre filled to capacity, witnessed riotous laughter all through the film, including the tragic end. In an Academy Awards scenario, the film could have walked away with the best director and best screenplay awards also. It is well written, well performed, well edited and well photographed.
ATLANTIQUE directed by Franco-Senegalese director Mati DIOP was awarded the Jury Grand Prize, which was handed over to her by Sylvester Stallone.
“It's also a declaration to that city, to the streets of Dakar. I am here, but I'm also there" said the director, accepting the award.
The Best Director award went to Jean-Pierre and Luc DARDENNE for their film YOUNG AHMED, dealing with the ills of radicalization on young minds in the current times. Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne said: "Thank you to the Jury for this reward, for this film which we wanted to be an ode to life. We filmed a young religious fanatic in these difficult times. In doing so, we wanted to film an appeal to life, to foreignness, to difference. That's also the vocation of cinema. We want to thank young Idir, who played Ahmed so well."
The Jury Prize was shared by the debut LES MISERABLES by Ladj LY and the Brazilian film BACURAU, directed by Kleber Mendonca Filho & Juliano Dornelles.
Ladj Ly said: "Thank you to Thierry Frémaux for having had the audacity to choose this film. I'm truly touched… the only common enemy of the inhabitants and the police in the suburbs is poverty. And want to dedicate this prize to all Les Misérables in France.”
Kleber Mendonça Filho said: "This is my 20th year at the Festival. At the beginning I was a film critic and discovered many films. It's strange to be receiving this prize and to find myself on the other side. Thank you!"
It is strange that another Brazilian Film THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF EURIDICE GUSMAO directed by Karim Ainouz won the Best Film award in the Un Certain Reward section of the Festival. Best way to celebrate the Year of Brazilian Cinema in Cannes!
Best Actor award went to Antonio Banderas for his performance in PAIN AND GLORY directed by Pedro Almodovar. We expected that he would be Palmadovar this year instead of remaining P Almodovar. The Chinese Actress Zhang Ziyi presented the award to Banderas.
Antonio Banderas said: "As I walked up the steps, someone asked me how long it had taken to get here. I answered "40 years". I'm very grateful as an actor for this prize, and also for my character. It'll surprise no one that the character is Pedro Almodóvar himself. We've made eight films together. I love him, I respect him. He is my mentor. This prize must be dedicated to him. In the life of an actor, there's a lot of pain, but also evenings of glory, and this evening is my evening of glory. The best is yet to come."
The Best Actress Award went to Emily Beecham in LITTLE JOE directed by Jessica HAUSNER. The Award for the Best Screenplay went to Celine Sciamma for her film PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE. Actor-Director Gael García Bernal presented the award to the filmmaker.
Céline Sciamma said: "I was about to put an end to my career as a screenplay writer. This prize takes me back to my initial solitude, offset by how the adventure turned out. Let me thank those who breathed life into this film, of my entire team. I owe them my eternal gratitude."
Veteran Palestinian director Elia Suleiman had to rest content with a special mention for his hilarious film IT MUST BE HEAVEN. Actress Chiara Mastroianni presented the award to the director. Chiara Mastroianni was conferred with the Best Actress Award earlier for her performance in ON A MAGICAL NIGHT directed by Christophe Honore screened in the Un Certain Regard category.
The Golden Camera of Cannes for the debut film of the director was awarded to the Guatemalan film OUR MOTHERS directed by Cesar Diaz and screened in the Critics’ Week section. It was presented by the Camera d’Or Jury President Rithy Panh and the French Actress Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi. The film sensitively explored the calamities of a civil war in the 1980s in Guatemala affecting directly the women.
César Diaz said "Thank you to the Festival de Cannes, the Jury and the Semaine de la Critique for having invited me. I would like to dedicate this prize to the 250,000 Guatemalan victims and the women who remain standing."
The Cinefondation First Prize for the student films went to MANO A MANO by Louise Courvoisier from CineFabrique, France. The Cannes Red Carpet on the awards night was on fire with great star and personality presence – The Jury President Inarritu along with the entire Feature Film Jury, Nadine Labaki with her Un Certain Regard Jury colleagues, the directors and their colleagues from competition and other sections of the Festival, veteran French Actress Catherine Deneuve, American Michael Moore, French Actress Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, Sylvester Stallone, Gael Garcia Bernal, Claire Denis, Zhang Ziyi, Viggo Mortensen and others. For regulars like me, one more year in Cannes has come to an end. Will wait for the next edition to throw new surprises at us.