Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

The DFCC in Cannes

The Dublin critics deliver their verdict.

Sun, May 27, 2012, 16:48


A small contingent from the Dublin Film Critics’ Circle was in and about the hurly burly of this year’s Cannes Film Festival. As it winds down — anticipating the jury’s decisions later today — your current correspondent and Tara Brady, both from this place, joined Brogen Hayes of and elsewhere to ponder the best films of the main competition and the (slightly underpowered) Un Certain Regard.

The critics are hard at work on the Côte d’Azur

It proved to be a good year. Everyone admired Michael Haneke’s austere (even for him) Amour. Thomas Vinterberg’s The Hunt proved to be a mainstream melodrama of the highest order. Leos Carax’s extraordinary Holy Motors won over even those who hated the director’s famously unhinged Les Amants du Pont-neuf. For once, the final film, Jeff Nichols’s Mud, sent critics home in a positive mood. After a degree of debate, we awarded our prizes as follows. Observe our impressive decision to use the local language.

Palme d’Or – Golden Palm – Amour (Love), dir Michael Haneke

Grand Prix – Grand Prize of the Festival – Jagten (The Hunt), dir Thomas Vinterberg

Prix du Jury – Jury Prize – După dealuri (Beyond the Hills), dir Cristian Mungiu

Prix d’interprétation féminine – Best Actress – Emmanuelle Riva, Amour

Prix d’interprétation masculine – Best Actor – Mads Mikkelsen, Jagten (The Hunt); Denis Lavant, Holy Motors

Prix de la mise en scène – Best Director – Leos Carax, Holy Motors

Prix du scénario – Best Screenplay – Mud, writer-director Jeff Nichols

Un Certain RegardBeasts of the Southern Wild, Benh Zeitlin

So what will win? Well, by the time you read this, you may already know the answer to that question. Most punters regards Amour as the strong favourite. But Alain Resnais’s You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet, despite boring many Anglophone reviewers, picked up a surprising number of raves from French critics. Nobody would begrudge Resnais, now 89, his first Palme d’Or. (Yes, you read that right. Amazingly, often a victim of politics, he has never picked up that gong before.) But it would seem a little like a lifetime achievement prize for the director of Last Year at Marienbad and Mon oncle d’Amérique . Were Emmanuelle Riva also to win, it would make a nice story. She is, perhaps, still best remembered for appearing in Resnais’s Hiroshima Mon Amour way back in 1959.

One more late candidate for awards is Sergei Loznitsa’s In the Fog (****). Unveiled on Friday night, the film is a grim, steady study of suspected collaboration in the Soviet Union during the second World War. It is not quite as disturbingly weird as the Ukranian’s My Joy, reviewed positively here in 2010, but this a fine film with abundant outbreaks of slow-burning tension. Don’t be surprised if it too figures highly.

Anyway, there’s not much point speculating further. We’ll know the results in just two hours.