Saturday, May 21, 2005

Everybody, Cannes, Cannes!

The Cannes Film Festival mostly ended today, with the announcement of its competition awards. Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, the Belgian, film-directing brothers behind Rosetta, La Promesse, and The Son, collectively became only the fifth filmmakers to win a second Palme d'Or, this time for their film The Child. (Their predecessors in that rare distinction were Francis Ford Coppola, Bille August, Shohei Imamura, and this year's jury president, Emir Kusturica.)

Among the Dardennes' acclaimed features, I have still only seen their earlier Palme winner, Rosetta, which got something of a bad rap in 1999 because everyone thought that Pedro Almodóvar's All About My Mother was a shoo-in to win. I actually think Rosetta is the superior film, though out of the competition films that year, I would have stumped even harder for Jim Jarmusch's Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai or David Lynch's The Straight Story.

Anyway, it's hard to say too much about this year's Cannes crops, since I've only seen Sin City, which I found relentlessly two-dimensional and, save for Mickey Rourke's witty performance, utterly inhumane. I can direct you, though, to some kick-ass Palme winners from Cannes pasts. For my own breakdown of the best (and worst) top prizewinners in Cannes history, click here. For a quick cheat sheet, I've seen 41 of the 66 winners, and these are the fifteen titles that I consider genuine masterpieces, in order of preference:

#1 The Piano, dir. Jane Campion (1993)
#2 Taxi Driver, dir. Martin Scorsese (1976)
#3 Taste of Cherry, dir. Abbas Kiarostami (1997 - my review)
#4 The Ballad of Narayama, dir. Shohei Imamura (1983)
#5 Apocalypse Now, dir. Francis Ford Coppola (1979)
#6 The Conversation, dir. Francis Ford Coppola (1974)
#7 Dancer in the Dark, dir. Lars von Trier (2000 - my review)
#8 Viridiana, dir. Luis Buñuel (1961)
#9 La Dolce Vita, dir. Federico Fellini (1960)
#10 The Wages of Fear, dir. Henri-Georges Clouzot (1953)
#11 Blow-up, dir. Michelangelo Antonioni (1967)
#12 Under the Sun of Satan, dir. Maurice Pialat (1987)
#13 The Third Man, dir. Carol Reed (1949)
#14 Pulp Fiction, dir. Quentin Tarantino (1994)
#15 Chronicle of the Smoldering Years, dir. Mohammed Lakhdar-Hamina (1975)

Now, stay tuned for the Venice and Toronto Festivals in September. (We already know that Ang Lee's gay cowboy drama Brokeback Mountain is set to debut at Venice, along with a few other leaked titles, but most of the lineup won't be known for a couple of months.)

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