Daratt (Dry Season) – The Fountain – When the Levees Broke – Still Life – The Queen – Paprika – INLAND EMPIRE

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Jurors: Catherine Deneuve (president), Paulo Branco, Cameron Crowe, Chulpan Khamatova, Bigas Luna, Park Chan-wook, Michele Placido

Golden Lion:Still Life, China, dir. Jia Zhangke
Special Jury Prize:Daratt (Dry Season), Chad, dir. Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
Best Director:Private Fears in Public Places, France, Alain Resnais
Best Actress:The Queen, Helen Mirren
Best Actor:Hollywoodland, Ben Affleck
Marcello Mastroianni Prize:The Untouchable, Isild Le Besco
Best Screenplay:The Queen, Peter Morgan
Technical Contribution:Children of Men, Emmanuel Lubezki (cinematography)
FIPRESCI Prize:The Queen, UK, dir. Stephen Frears
SIGNIS Award:Golden Door, Italy, dir. Emanuele Crialese
Venice Horizons Award:Courthouse on Horseback, China, dir. Jie Liu
Future Film Festival Digital Award:INLAND EMPIRE, USA, dir. David Lynch

Competition Films I Have Seen:
Ranked in order of preference
My Golden Lion:
Syndromes and a Century (Thailand, dir. Apichatpong Weerasethakul) - Apichatpong's fascination with repetition and with jungle/office contrasts may wear thin, but here it remains clever, insinuating, special

I Don't Want to Sleep Alone (Malaysia, dir. Tsai Ming-liang) - Another auteur who insists on repeating himself, but he haunts space so gorgeously, bravely holds his shots, works uncannily with doubles

The Fountain (USA, dir. Darren Aronofsky) - Risks being heckled as corny in pursuit of grand, peculiar, inventive, romantic strokes I found quite moving; score to die for, or die to (full review)

Children of Men (USA/UK, dir. Alfonso Cuarón) - Bravura sequence shots are instant legends; volatile mood, schizzy score similarly stunning, film feels naggingly lacking in soul, though

Still Life (China, dir. Jia Zhangke) - A thing of odd beauty and slowly dawning wonder; some longueurs amid dazzling shots, but evocative and subtly risky; feels built to last

The Black Dahlia (USA, dir. Brian De Palma) - So much risk-taking, so many split outcomes at this fest, nowhere more than here: a clunky whole with some of year's most exquisite parts (full review)

Private Property (Belgium, dir. Joachim Lafosse) - A smart and unusually low-key performance by Huppert, fine support from les frères Renier, but fails to generate any lasting impression

Black Book (The Netherlands, dir. Paul Verhoeven) - Punchy expo and subsequent bursts imply Verhoeven at slutty-witty best, but turns boring and gross, viz. spilled tub of shit as key prop

The Queen (UK, dir. Stephen Frears) - Sheen is good, editing lively in build-up, score okay, but handful of steely scenes cannot efface pinched, bare, mothy feeling of whole

Bobby (USA, dir. Emilio Estevez) - Emilio flies papa's liberal flag, yields West Wing meets Wonder Years meets Altman, on subpar night for all three; nice casting of Stone

Hollywoodland (USA, dir. Allen Coulter) - Am I seeing same movie as everyone else? Seemed laughably stilted when not suffocatingly self-serious; even more risible at closing time (capsule review)

Sidebar Films I Have Seen:
Ranked in order of preference
INLAND EMPIRE (USA, dir. David Lynch) - Torn fabric is key symbol; Lynch rends the screen with violent dreams. Remarkably harrowing for something so oblique.

When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (USA, dir. Spike Lee) - Typically of Lee, it's overlong and uneven—but when has he had better reason? A furious, priceless document.

The Devil Wears Prada (USA, dir. David Frankel) - Remarkably insinuating for a film with dead-weight subplots, blunted finish. Trio of actresses work wonders.

A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints (USA, dir. Dito Montiel) - Unmistakably a debut; just as clearly a memoir. Room to improve but rich in setting, character.

Infamous (USA, dir. Douglas McGrath) - Jones's preening superciliousness and film's gamble on gaudy tone keep it from repeating Capote. Bad news: feels too thin.

World Trade Center (USA, dir. Oliver Stone) - Can't blame Cage or the ever-reliable Peña, but the film's less too soon than too little. Slick and oddly bland.

Competition Films I'm Curious to See:
Ranked in order of interest; more on this year's lineup here (opens in a new window)
Daratt (Dry Season), Chad, dir. Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
Paprika, Japan, dir. Satoshi Kôn
Golden Door, Italy, dir. Emanuele Crialese
Private Fears in Public Places, France, dir. Alain Resnais
These Encounters of Theirs, Italy/France, dir. Daniele Huillet & Jean-Marie Straub
Exiled, Hong Kong, dir. Johnnie To

Sidebar Films I'm Curious to See:
Listed alphabetically
Belle toujours, Portugal/France, dir. Manoel De Oliveira
Courthouse on Horseback, China, dir. Jie Liu
Dong, China, dir. Jia Zhangke
The Hottest State, USA, dir. Ethan Hawke
The Island, Russia, dir. Pavel Lounguine
Retribution, Japan, dir. Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Suely in the Sky, Brazil, dir. Karim Aïnouz

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