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« Cannes Diary: "Foxcatcher" and Best Actor, "Clouds of Sils Maria" and Actresses | Main | Posterized: Xavier Dolan »

Cannes Tidbits: The Tribe, White God, and Sils Maria

A few more notes from the festival. The big prizes are revealed tomorrow and the festival closes Sunday.

Juliette, Chloe, and Kristen
Sils Maria sometimes referred to as Clouds of Sils Maria  focuses on an actress and her personal assistant and the actresses decision to play a part in a remake of a property deeply connected to her life (which weirdly also exactly describes, at least in part, Maps to the Stars with Julianne Moore and Mia Wasikowska!!!). Early word is that it's a Kristen Stewart showcase.  This turn of events by no  means surprise me. It's long been a thing which amuses and annoys in equal measure that people ALWAYS lose their shit when a non-prestigious actor suddenly holds their own in a substantive role or movie. (Hell, it's so common that this is even the second time this week following Channing Tatum's raves in Foxcatcher) Of course this "surprise" factor would be significantly reduced if more people paid attention to the actual quality of the acting in any actors career and not just that thing they did one time in a movie or franchise that made them famous. Foxcatcher is hardly the first time Channing has been good and if more people had actually watched and tried to absorb Stewart as Joan Jett in The Runaways, rather than treating it as a indie curio inbetween Twilight movies, they'd know that Stewart had some talent, too. That said I object to the subhheadline in Jordan Hoffman's review in Vanity Fair that says "sticks it to anyone who ever slammed her for Twilight"

....no, no, no. You don't get to erase your bad work as soon as you choose to do good work. Yes, those movies are terrible but she needn't have been terrible in them. Good committed actors rise above bad material all the time, so her dead-eyed numbingly dull performance in that franchise? That's on her. 

Critics Week Winner
The Ukranian film The Tribe has no subtitles, but then it's not in Ukranian either. The ambitious movie is completely in sign language and populated by deaf actors. The audience has to decipher the intricacy by watching the gestures of and emotion of the actors. Just to make sure you're paying attention it also contains graphic sex. Here's a review from Indiewire... and consider our interest highly piqued. 

The Winners of Critics Week
This is a sidebar featuring emerging talent so the features are also eligible for the Camera d'Or

Grand Prize - The Tribe (Ukraine)
Gan Foundation Support for Distribution Prize - The Tribe (Ukraine)
Visionary Award - The Tribe (Ukraine)
Screenplay - Hope (France)
Canal Plus (Short Film) - Crocodile (UK)
Sony CineAlta Discovery Prize (Short Film) - A Ciambra (Italy)

Palme D'og & Un Certain Regard
A Cannes tradition that got very popular when the The Artist broke out big in 2011, this year's winner was a Hungarian feature directed by Kornél Mundruczó called White God and we all know what "God" spells backwards. The movie is about a pack of wild dogs on a rampage and keeps being compared to Hitchcock's The Birds -- I wonder if that's just a snap judgement comparison or a qualitative comparison? Here's a feature at Artsbeat on the well-received film. Apparently Jean Luc Godard's Farewell to Language stars his dog Mieville had to settle for runner up.

White God also took top honors for the Un Certain Regard jury and, like Critics Week, most of the films are from emerging talent and some (though not the winner) are eligible for the Camera D'Or which honors first time filmmakers

The Winners of Un Certain Regard
Best Film - White God (Hungary)
Jury Prize - Force Majeure (Sweden
<-- For what it's worth Ruben Östlund has previously been submitted for Oscar consideration by Sweden 
Special Jury Prize - The Salt of the Earth (USA)
Ensemble - Party Girl (France)
Best Actor -David Gulpilil, Charlie's Country (Australia)
Gulpilil previously collaborated with the same director Rolf de Heer on the Australian Oscar submission Ten Canoes (2006) 

P.S. I do not know why there is not a Best Actress award. I assume the exact makeup of the prizes each year is up to that particular jury.

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Reader Comments (6)

I am still puzzled why movie festivals like cannes have to have a ton of awards?
I don't even understand which award honors what anymore.

May 23, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercraver

In Stewart's defense, she has always emoted so much through her eyes. In Twilight, she is wearing dark brown contacts which give her the Coraline effect.

May 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJen

They've given out the Palm Dog for years already, though maybe the first time there was an actual ceremony for that was when The Artist won?

Involuntary, the Ruben Östlund film that Sweden submitted for the Oscar, is really good - a bit like Haneke's Code Unknown, but more humorous.

May 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJan

I was a huge fan of Ostlund's Play back in 2011 - it was my second favorite film of the year actually, though it never got US distribution. I'm really looking forward to Force Majeur. I just hope I can catch it in Toronto, or else who knows when the hell I'll get to see it.

Sounds like a lot of great stuff to catch up with here. I'm really intrigued by the approach to The Tribe. Unsubtitled sign language as the film's primary language - that's brilliant.

May 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRoark

In all fairness, Kristen Stewart really isn't that bad in the Twilight sequels. The first movie is a total misfire for everyone involved, but I've seen a couple of the others, and they're more akin to any given superhero franchise. I only saw them recently, and I was annoyed that they're so universally reviled while things like Iron Man inexplicably get held up as best of the year. Wasn't so hot on her in The Runaways, but I loved her in Into The Wild and Adventureland. Happy she seems to be doing good work.

VERY excited for both White God and The Tribe. Less excited for the Director's Fortnight winner Les combattants, even if I do really like the star Adele Haenel. Just seems a little Sundance-y for my tastes.

May 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTB

True point about how you can rise above bad work. Not that the Hunger Games is anywhere near as bad as Twilight, but it's still a franchise and Jennifer Lawrence manages just fine. Good for Stewart though, it seems she and Pattinson had a good Cannes. At least they can finally move on.

May 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBia

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