2013 Cannes Film Festival Recap

adele-lea-cannes-2013Despite a somewhat puritan image, Steven Spielberg – and his jury – surprised festivalgoers by giving the highest award to the most memorable and daring entry, Blue is the Warmest Color (read our review), also embracing the two lead actresses’ performances (Adele Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux – photo on the right). He also emphasized that they were rewarding the film for its powerful doomed love story, avoiding turning this choice into a political (France is in turmoil regarding the recent law approving homosexual weddings) or a voyeuristic (the film features extended sex scenes) affair.

While the media were predicting that The Past (read our review) would take the Palme d’Or home, the jury did recognize Bérénice Béjo’s work, giving her the best actress award against favorites such as Marion Cotillard and Emmanuelle Seigner. Like Father, Like Son (read our review) was another movie deserving a prize and it got rightfully rewarded with the Jury Prize. The Coen Brothers’ Grand Prix for Inside Llewyn Davis was however more of a shocker as this solid feature is far to be as impressive as No country for old man or Miller’s crossing.

spielberg-cannes-2013Extravagant post-modern attempts such as Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby (read our review) and Paolo Sorrentino’s La Grande Bellezza failed at captivating the jury with their visual bluff and this is a good thing. On the contrary they celebrated Amat Escalante’s Heli (read our review), a movie where direction and subject were perfectly in tune. A Touch of Sin won best screenplay, its 4 different segments working better as stand-alone stories than the whole movie as an ensemble piece. The Best actor race offered another surprise: Despite being in a minor movie, Bruce Dern (Nebraska) edged Michael Douglas as Liberace as well as Oscar Isaac, Ali Mosaffa and Mads Mikkelsen.

In the end, what will we remember of this 66th Cannes festival? Beside some controversy, mostly that the jury delivered a solid list of winners, even though some memorable entries such as Jim Jarmusch’s Only lovers left alive and Alex Van Warmerdam’s Borgmann (read our review) were unfortunately ignored. This was a year where the president and his peers celebrated an exigent vision of cinema rather than rewarding the usual suspects or ambitious – but flawed – works. And this is certainly to Mr. Spielberg’s credit, a director known for blockbusters and more inclusive films.

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Moland Fengkov

Moland Fengkov

Based in Paris, Moland is a journalist and photographer; He is more particularly responsible for covering the Cannes film festival for Plume Noire, writing movie reviews and taking gorgeous pictures.
Moland Fengkov

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