63rd Cannes Film Festival (May 12-23, 2010)
Miracle in Cannes!
by Mamad Haghighat
Quality of miracles
Miracles in the 21st century are nothing like what happened in past centuries as they are more reliant on modern technologies. As put by the festival’s President, the first miracle in Cannes 2010 was the possibility for 4 billion fans to visit its website. The website made available news in French, English, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, and Russian. This helped Cannes to overcome the relative news ban which some international news agencies like Reuters tried to impose on it. News agencies were angry because the Finance Department of Cannes Festival had signed exclusive and lucrative contracts with two French channels to air red carpet ceremonies and other news services had to pay a price to those channels in order to cover the ceremony. In short, commercial issues dominated this huge event as money, power and politics have become tightly intertwined. You have either to put up with that situation or shut up.
Miracles, however, can occur in an inexplicable manner on the sidelines of this glamorous event and sometimes they even reach the apex of the festival’s pyramid.
Anybody who can correctly spell the complete name of the Thai director who won the Palm d’Or will deserve a special diploma of honor in 2011! However, this is not the miracle, but the miracle was the award of the Golden Palm to a film which no distributor was willing to buy up to the final days of the festival. His previous film, which had won a prize at Cannes, did not attract more than 25,573 viewers all over France! Jury members did their part in surprising the audience. Serious competitors out of 19 films in the competition section included Another Year (Mike Leigh, UK), Biutiful (Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu, Spain/Mexico), Poetry (Lee Chang-dong, South Korea), and Of Gods and Men (Xavier Beauvois, France). A table reflecting critics’ viewpoints in Film Francais magazine, where fifteen critics judge the films, as well as articles in the Screen magazine contain diverging viewpoints of film critics. Some introduced a certain film as deserving the golden palm while others gave it the lowest score. One could conclude that no single film satisfied all critics. Has the recent global financial crisis dampened creativities? However, the miracle came at last and the Palm d’Or was given to a Thai movie which nobody took seriously. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, UK/ German/ France/ Thailand/ and Spain) is, at first, boring in that it deals with ghosts. However, with a little patience, it will gradually entice you and with more patience, it will take you to a wonder world and change your mind. It does not conform to usual formula of long, monotonous movies, though it is one of them. The jury’s intrepidity was laudable and this was a miracle of Cannes!
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2010, Film International
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Publishing Date Spring 2010
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