The winners and wonders at Cannes International Film Festival 2014

A Turkish drama wins the Palme d'Or, Monaco royals avoid Grace of Monaco, Lupita Nyong’o stuns, Steve Carell astonishes in a twisted role – and more of our favourite moments from the world's biggest film festival.
1. Nuri Bilge Ceylan. Antonin Thuillier / AFP
1. Nuri Bilge Ceylan. Antonin Thuillier / AFP

The top highlights from the recently concluded Cannes film festival.

1. Turkey’s Winter Sleep wins Palme d’Or

The richly ruminative Chekhovian drama Winter Sleep was awarded the Palme d’Or on Saturday, bestowing the Cannes film festival’s top honour on an intimate, wintry epic set on Turkey’s Anatolian steppe.

The film’s director, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, accepted the award, handed out by Quentin Tarantino and Uma Thurman. In his speech, Ceylan alluded to anti-government protests in Istanbul that began a year ago and have raged following a recent mining disaster that killed ­hundreds.

“I want to dedicate the prize to the young people in Turkey and those who lost their lives during the last year,” said Ceylan.

The filmmaker, who has twice won Cannes’ second-highest honour, the Grand Prix, noted that it was the 100th anniversary of Turkish cinema. “It’s a beautiful coincidence,” he said.

2. Honour roll

Julianne Moore won Best Actress for her performance in David Cronenberg’s dark Hollywood satire Maps to the Stars.

Best Actor went to Timothy Spall, who stars as the British painter J M W Turner in Mike Leigh’s biopic Mr Turner.

Bennett Miller (Capote, Moneyball) won Best Director for his wrestling drama Foxcatcher, the American film that made the biggest impact at Cannes. Miller dedicated his award to his stars Channing Tatum, Steve Carell and Mark Ruffalo.

Alice Rohrwacher’s The Wonders, an Italian drama about a family of beekeepers, was the surprise winner of the Grand Prix.

The Jury Prize was shared by the oddest of couples: Xavier Dolan’s Mommy and Jean-Luc Godard’s Goodbye to Language. The two were the oldest (Godard is 83) and youngest (Dolan is 25) directors at the festival.

Goodbye to Language is a 3-D art-house sensation from the ever-experimental French master. Mommy is a French-language, mother-son drama shot in an Instagram-like 1:1 aspect ratio (a square).

3. Monaco royals avoid Grace of Monaco

After lambasting Grace of Monaco for inaccurately portraying his late mother Princess Grace, Prince Albert put 560 kilometres between himself and the red-carpet premiere of the movie at Cannes. Albert and Princess Charlene left Monaco, just a stone’s throw from Cannes, and instead went on an official visit to the French Auvergne-region town of Carlades. The royal couple can’t have lost any sleep over skipping the opening. Grace of Monaco was met with some of the worst reviews for a Cannes opener after screening for the press on day one.

4. Campion lambasts sexism in cinema

Jane Campion, the only female director in Cannes history to win the Palme d’Or, threw a verbal punch at the male-dominated film industry during Cannes’ inaugural jury press conference. “There is inherent sexism in the industry ... It does feel very undemocratic,” said Campion, who was jury president this year. “Excuse me, gentlemen. It’s not that I resent the male filmmakers ... but there are some things that women are doing that we don’t get to know about ... a more feminine vision,” she said, adding that only 7 per cent of the 1,800 entries submitted to Cannes were directed by women.

5. New side to Kristen Stewart

Playing an assistant to a famous actress, Kristen Stewart gave the festival a self-referential and immediately acclaimed performance. Olivier Assayas’s Clouds of Sils Maria revealed a new dimension of Stewart, acting in a European production alongside Juliette Binoche. As the mobile-phone-tethered assistant to an international, revered veteran actress named Maria Enders (played by Binoche), Stewart’s character is full of ironies. In the film, her character is ignored by paparazzi, and jokes about scandalous tabloid stories and films with werewolves.

6. Razing the bunker

The Cannes president Gilles Jacob stirred controversy by calling the red-carpeted, white retro complex that has been hosting the festival for four dazzling decades – anything but “cool”. He called the 1979 behemoth “ill-adapted” and too dated for the needs of the world’s most glamorous film festival, and suggested that the “bunker” be razed. He proposed a more modern building to secure the prestige of the festival, which has hosted more than 67 years of cinema’s most famous stars. The city will have the final say on its fate.

7. Carell astonishes in twisted role

Steve Carell had Cannes gasping in disbelief with an “astonishing” performance as a deranged, sinister millionaire in Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher. Based on the true-life 1996 murder of the Olympic wrestling medallist Dave Schultz by John du Pont, a member of the family dynasty behind the chemical giant DuPont, the film saw the star of The Office exploring his dark side.

8. Lupita Nyong’o stuns

The glowing Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o shone bright at the Calvin Klein celebration of Women in Film event in Cannes. She wore a shimmering blue Calvin Klein strapless dress with a slashed bodice styled with silver sandals. To complement that look, the 12 Years a Slave star wore teardrop cut-out crystal earrings.

9. Stars stand out with messages

With a fuchsia strapless dress that accentuated her voluptuous figure, Salma Hayek was already guaranteed to turn heads on the Cannes red carpet. So she used the opportunity to draw attention to a crisis — the kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian girls. Hayek carried a sign with the hashtag “Bring Back Our Girls” as she walked in front of a throng of cameras to the premiere of her animated film Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet. The Expendables 3 cast – Sylvester Stallone, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Jason Statham, Kelsey Grammer, Ronda Rousey and Wesley Snipes – each held up signs bearing the message. The Expendables 3 was not an official selection at Cannes, but its stars made the most of their Cannes visit — arriving on the Riviera on Saturday morning in tanks.

* Agencies

artslife@thenational.ae

Published: May 25, 2014 04:00 AM

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