Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

What should and what will win the Palme d’Or

We attempt to read a few crystal balls.

Sat, May 22, 2010, 21:38

   

The final 8.30am screening fills up.

One of the downsides to not having a Sunday edition of the Irish Times is that there is no space for an article offering predictions for the Palme d’Or in between the last competition screening and the handing out of the gongs. So you, dear online readers, get the material all to yourselves.

There are, for me, five contenders for the top prize. In no particular order…

OUTRAGE by Takeshi Kitano.
This ultra-violent Yakuza drama caused walkouts and received awful, awful reviews from the critics. They’re all wrong. It’s a great genre piece.

ANOTHER YEAR by Mike Leigh
It could not be more like a Mike Leigh film, but we shouldn’t hold that against it. Arguably the most moving film he has yet made. Leslie Manville should be a shoo-in for best actress.

MY JOY by Sergei Loznitsa
Grim Ukrainian drama — imagine Cristian Mungiu meets Michael Haneke — concerning a truck driver who takes a wrong turn into wretchedness. A good shot for  the Camera d’Or (for best first film).

OF GODS AND MEN by Xavier Beauvois
Contemplative, beautifully acted piece about French Monks coming into contact with Muslim extremists. Quietly timely.

UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES by Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Fantastically bizarre Thai film concerning a dying man who imagines that his dead son returns as a monkey spirit. Elsewhere, a princess has personal relations with a catfish. A truly mind-bending experience

And the winner of the Screenwriter d’Or is…

UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES

Working out what actually will win is a tricky business. As reported in the last post, with a weary sigh, the hugely experienced Kenny Turan told us that  Tim Burton and his jury might be “hoodwinked” by Alejandro González Iñárritu’s self-important Biutiful. I don’t know. They must know that the film went down like a wet cabbage with most punters and that Iñárritu could actually get booed if he takes the gong.

I think that Another Year might come through as a consensus choice. Most everybody likes it and I haven’t met anybody who dislikes it. On the other hand, Burton’s taste for the fantastic might boost the chances of Uncle Boonmee. He would, I suspect, have some backing from fellow jurist Victor Erice, director of Spirit of the Beehive, and the panel would, I’m sure, like to show support for a young master.

Those provisos noted, I still think the prize will go to Mike Leigh.

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