UPDATE, WRITETHRU: With 24 hours to go until the Palme d’Or and other winners are unveiled in the main Cannes Film Festival competition, its companion section, Un Certain Regard, handed out its laurels tonight. The top prize went to The Happiest Day In The Life Of Olli Maki. The black-and-white Finnish boxing drama/love story by Juho Kuosmanen chronicles the lead up to the real-life boxer’s 1962 world championship featherweight bout against Davey Moore and his distracted thoughts of a new love. Kuosmanen, who shot The Happiest Day in 16mm, won a Cinéfondation prize here in 2010 with the medium-length The Painting Sellers. Reviews have been strong and Les Films du Losange is handling.
Captain Fantastic‘s Matt Ross was named Best Director. The film made its debut in Sundance earlier this year, and here Deadline’s Pete Hammond suggested calling it “Captain Fantastique.” Viggo Mortensen stars as an offbeat dad who raises his six kids alone, home schooling them with his own unique life lesson plans in the rustic backwoods of the Pacific Northwest. A tragedy brings them back to civilization and a confrontation with his father-in-law which leads ultimately to major life decisions. Bleecker Street releases domestically in July with Sierra/Affinity selling international.
The UCR Jury Prize was given to Japanese director Kôji Fukada’s Harmonium, a thriller about a man just released from prison who causes havoc in the family life of an old acquaintance when he moves in with them. MK2 has international sales.
Screenplay honors went to Delphine and Muriel Coulin for The Stopover (Voir Du Pays), a French drama about two military women at the end of a tour of duty in Afghanistan who head to a decompression program in Cyprus yet struggle to leave the the war behind. This is the sister directors’ sophomore feature after 2011’s 17 Girls and features rising star Soko. FilmsDistribution is selling.
The Special Jury Prize was awarded to The Red Turtle by Michael Dudok de Wit. The dialogue-free picture centers on a man shipwrecked on a tropical island inhabited by turtles, crabs and birds. It’s the first international co-production for famed Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli which partnered on the film with France’s Wild Bunch, in association with Why Not Productions. Sony Pictures Classics picked it up this week.
Separately, the International Federation of Film Critics named its winners today. From the Competition, Germany’s bittersweet comedy Toni Erdmann by Maren Ade took the FIPRESCI. The film has been warmly received here and was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics earlier in the festival. This is the second year in a row that SPC has bought the eventual FIPRESCI laureate after last year picking up Son Of Saul ahead of its win. That film went on to the Grand Jury Prize on the main awards night, and the Oscar among myriad other trophies.
The FIPRESCI from the Un Certain Regard section went to Dogs, from Romanian helmer Bogdan Mirica. International critics also gave a FIPRESCI to Julia Ducournau’s Raw which ran in Critics’ Week. Ducournau has been hailed as a Cannes breakout with Focus understood to be in the hunt for the horror/coming-of-age tale.
The Ecumenical jury honored Xavier Dolan’s It’s Only The End Of The World with its top prize today as well. The film, which is in the main competition, has stared down some tough critics. Marion Cotillard, Gaspard Ulliel, Léa Seydoux, Vincent Cassel and Nathalie Baye star in the story of a writer who returns home to announce to his family that he is dying. Andrea Arnold’s American Honey and Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake received special mentions.
Those three films are all in contention for the Palme d’Or and other prizes at tomorrow night’s main awards ceremony.