cannes20071.jpgUPDATE: A devastating Romanian film about back-alley abortion and daily despair in the communist era tonight won the 2007 Cannes Film Festival’s top award, the Palme d’Or. As I was tipped this morning, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, directed by Cristian Mungiu and made for only $800,000, was celebrated, cannes2007a.JPGalong with NYC artist Julian Schnabel’s The Diving Bell And The Butterfly which was awarded the Prix de la Mise en Scene for Best Director, and Fatih Akin’s German-Turkish The Edge of Heaven which was given the Prix du Scenario for Best Screenplay. American director Gus Van Sant won the Prix du 60th Anniversaire for his Paranoid Park. And the Grand Prix, considered the runner-up prize, went to The Mourning Forest helmed by Naomi Kawase. At this hotly contested 60th anniversary Cannes, the Coen brothers’ highly regarded No Country For Old Men was blanked as was Quentin tarantino’s Death Proof (1/2 of Grindhouse). Meanwhile, the much hyped and well received Sicko, Michael Moore’s documentary about the U.S. health care system, was not entered into competition.

SUNDAY AM: As everyone knows, this year’s 12-day Cannes Film Festival featured the strongest film lineup in years, so the jury has been debating the 22 movies in contention. I’ve just received a hot tip from a knowledgeable source that these three films will receive awards tonight: NYC artist Julian Schnabel’s impressionistic-styled The Diving Bell and the Butterfly based on the French book; Cristian Mungui’s socially conscious Romanian film about an illegal abortion 4 Months, 3 Weeks And 2 Days; and Fatih Akin’s German-Turkish cross-cultural tale The Edge Of Heaven. I’m told those filmmakers were told in the wee hours of the morning today to stay behind for the presentation ceremony. According to the source, the Coen brothers’ frontrunning No Country For Old Men, about a ruthless killer and the lawman who pursues him, didn’t win anything. But no one will know for sure until tonight.