The film director Apichatpong Weerasethakul was presented with the esteemed Palme d’Or on Sunday night, as the 63rd edition of the festival drew to a close.
The screenings are done, the verdict is in and Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives was the title of the big winner at this year’s prestigious Cannes Film Festival, as the film’s Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul was presented with the esteemed Palme d’Or.
The private affair held annually at the Palais des Festivals et des Congres in the resort town of Cannes in the South of France, is one of the oldest and most prestigious film festivals in the world. This year’s jury was headed by renowned American film director Tim Burton and featured some of the biggest names in the industry including Shekhar Kapur, Benicio Del Toro and Kate Beckinsale.
Hundreds of celebrity-spotters lined the waterfront around the festival hall as the stars attended Sunday night’s gala ceremony. Italy’s Elio Germano shared the Best Actor award for La Nostra Vita alongside Spanish artist Javier Bardem for his astounding performance as a good-hearted, terminally-ill hustler in Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Biutiful. Bardem has been awarded an Academy award, a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild award, a BAFTA, two European film awards, two Coppa Volpis awards, and four Goya awards for his previous works.
It proved to be a good year for the French too. Frenchman Mathieu Amalric took home the best director prize for On Tour, a story about a troupe of buxom American strip teasers touring the French seaside, and later, famed French dame Juliette Binoche went on to win the best actress award for her role as an unhappy art dealer in Abbas Kiarostami’s Certified Copy.
Binoche hailed her Iranian director Kiarostami, who is regarded as one of the world’s finest film-makers but whose work is rarely screened in his native country due to censorship by its hard-line Islamic leaders. “The camera revealed me in my femininity, my complexity,” said Binoche of Kiarostami’s quiet film about a mysterious love affair in Italy – his first piece shot outside Iran.
She brandished a sign with the name of Jafar Panahi, the Iranian film-maker who was prevented from joining the festival jury. He has been in jail in Tehran since March, accused of planning a film against the Islamic regime. The French government and the festival had demanded Panahi’s release and the film-maker himself spoke out against his jailers in a letter read out by Cannes organisers.
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Director: Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
Grand Jury Prize:
Of Gods And Men (Director: Xavier Beauvois)
A Screaming Man (Director: Mahamat-Saleh Haroun)
Mathieu Amalric, On Tour
Lee Chang-dong, Poetry
Juliette Binoche, Certified Copy
Best Actor (tie):
1. Javier Bardem, Biutiful
2. Elio Germano, La Nostra Vita