The clip above is a Euronews summary of last night’s awards ceremony at the Cannes film festival. I wasn’t there, but the time has come for a look back at the event how it appeared from the outside.
The jury of this year’s festival was chaired by the Coen brothers and consisted of Guillermo del Toro, Jake Gyllenhaal, Sophie Marceau, Xavier Dolan and Sienna Miller, among others. Isabella Rossellini chaired the Un Certain Regard jury, hardly a coincidence since her mother, Ingrid Bergman, was a continuing theme throughout. This year marks the Hollywood star’s centennial anniversary and the festival saw the premiere of Stig Björkman’s documentary Ingrid Bergman in Her Own Words, featuring Alicia Vikander as Bergman’s voice.
The choice of this year’s Palme d’Or winner was a bit of a surprise since few critics thought of French immigrant drama Dheepan as worthy enough. However, the winner of the Grand Prix, Hungarian Holocaust drama Son of Saul, looks more intriguing.
The movie most likely to survive beyond the Cannes bubble though is Carol, the 1950s gay drama directed by Todd Haynes, starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. Celebrated by critics as the best film to premiere at Cannes this year, this is currently the favorite to win at next year’s Oscars. Mara won the Best Actress award in Cannes. One might ask why the movie that is widely considered as the festival’s best rarely wins the Palme d’Or… but that’s not really the point of the festival. We expect the jury to make a choice that is more… out there. One that is more artistically interesting, in spite of its flaws. That said though, maybe Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Lobster should have won the Palme d’Or then?
Also, it’s always interesting to see which movies get booed. This year it was Gus Van Sant’s turn, as his suicide drama Sea of Trees, starring Matthew McConaughey and Naomi Watts, was not only booed but also widely panned by most critics. Sometimes, these things take on a life of its own, where everybody ends up hating it regardless of its qualities. I love some of Van Sant’s movies, but he’s famous for dividing his audiences. I hate his version of Psycho, and I found Paranoid Park largely tiresome… so, I’m wary.
This year’s Cannes controversy was all about the red carpet. The clip above shows Emily Blunt talking about an incident where women were turned away from the red carpet for wearing flat shoes rather than high heels. Cannes director Thierry Fremaux first blamed the incident on an overzealous guard, then took time to describe on Twitter how women should do their hair in order to be accepted for his red carpet:
@Whybee1 Absolument. Sur les marches, le règlement est clair, c’est chignon obligatoire. Ou cheveux attachés, pour le moins. Non mais.
— THIERRY FREMAUX (@THIERRYFREMAUX) May 21, 2015
Pretty pathetic coming from a man who also tried to divert attention from Cannes to the Oscars, having us believe that Hollywood is a greater gender problem. One thing at a time, please. If we’re talking about France and the Cannes festival, then it’s pretty obvious that Fremaux is confusing the gender-bending movies of his festival with the actual festival and its organization. On the big screen, Cannes tries to change the world. On the red carpet, Cannes satisfies conservative commercial demands above all else.