Despite the star wattage films that the Cannes Film Festival books annually — and this year was no exception, with such titles as the Kristen Stewart-Juliette Binoche film Sils Maria, Tommy Lee Jones’ The Homesman and the Robert Pattinson apocalyptic headliner The Rover — it’s a cinematic event that’s always at the forefront of lauding the artsier titles, no matter how popular they are with the masses or critics. Here’s a closer look at some of today’s winners in trailers and clips:
Palme d’Or Winner: Winter Sleep
Pete Hammond pointed out early in the festival that the Nuri Bilge Ceylan film from Turkey was this year’s longest sit at 3 hours and 16 minutes at the Palais Grand Theatre Lumiere. Film follows Aydin, a retired actor, who runs the Othello Hotel in central Anatolia. The snow begins to fall, and one could say that a cabin fever ensues for Aydin who tends to a stormy relationship with his wife and arguments about rich vs. poor with his recently divorced sister. Memento Films is handling foreign sales.
Grand Prize: Le Meraviglie (The Wonders)
The only Italian film in competition, Alice Rohrwacher’s sophomore effort focuses on a family of beekeepers and honeymakers at the center of which is teenager Gelsomina, who is being groomed as the heir by her strict German father. However, the arrival of an enigmatic boy Martin as well as a local TV contest threaten to rattle the family’s longstanding, rural traditions. The Match Factory is handling international sales.
Best Director: Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher
Good things come to those who wait, and we’ve been waiting since November when Sony Pictures Classics pulled this title from the AFI film festival so that Miller could continue editing. Foxcatcher tells the twisted true story about how two gold medal winning Olympic wrestling champs, David and Mark Schultz, fall under the spell of eccentric millionaire John du Pont when he launches a world-class wrestling facility at his estate. Panorama Media has international sales. Even though this is dated Nov. 14 stateside, let’s hope SPC starts awards season screenings in August. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out this scene between Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) and du Pont (a sublime Steve Carell):
Jury Prize: Mommy
Xavier Dolan’s fifth film focuses on an explosive 15-year old boy with ADHD and his widowed single mom. But when Kyla, a new girl across the street, enters their lives, things change. Seville International out of Montreal is handling foreign sales. Below is a clip:
Jury Prize (Tie): Goodbye to Language
The film marks the first major prize at the festival for French New Wave forefather, Jean-Luc Godard, after several Palme d’Or nominations. At 83, he is playing with the 3D format for the first time, with the film being a melange of images, sounds, voiceovers with a poetic plot description that reads “A married woman and a single man meet. They love, they argue, fists fly…” Wild Bunch is on the hook for selling foreign. It’s trippy and philosophical:
Best Screenplay: Leviathan
Sony Pictures Classics snapped up North American to this Russian feature today, directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev, which follows an auto repair shop owner, Kolia, in North Russia, as he locks horns with the town’s greedy, wealthy mayor. At stake are Kolia’s business, land and home. Here’s a clip with English subtitles:
Best Actress, Julianne Moore, David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars
Among cineastes, there’s good Cronenberg (A History of Violence) and there’s bad Cronenberg (Crash). Word around the Croisette was that Maps to the Stars was great Cronenberg. Reminiscent of the 1970 films like Day of the Locust that satirized Hollywood, Maps to the Stars features Moore as graying movie star Havana Segrand, who takes a new, mysterious personal assistant under her wing, Agatha (Mia Wasikowska). Also along for the ride are TV therapist Safford Weiss (John Cusack), 13-year old bratty star Benjie (Evan Bird), notorious mom-ager Christina (Olivia Williams) and Jerome Fontana (Robert Pattinson), the limo driver/screenwriter in their lives. E1 is the international sales agent. Watch them all at play in this four-minute clip:
Best Actor: Timothy Spall, Mike Leigh’s Mr. Turner
Director Mike Leigh’s third period-set film after Topsy-Turvy and Vera Drake follows the life of British curmudgeon painter J.M.W. Turner during the last 25 years of his life (which occurred during the days of the Napoleonic Wars and the rise of the Industrial Revolution). Such characters who Mr. Turner deals with daily are his father William, housekeeper and indulgence Hannah Danby, his mistress Sarah and their supposed daughters as well as rival painter Constable. Sony Classics came to the festival with U.S. under its belt. Sunray Films in the UK sold foreign. Watch Mr. Turner getting down to business in this clip:
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