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Cannes 2009: The Results

Cannes 2009: The Results – Not quite what was anticipated

By No author

All the results


Palme d'Or

DAS WEISSE BAND (The White Ribbon) directed by Michael HANEKE

Jacques Audiard
Jacques Audiard

Grand Prix

UN PROPHÈTE (A Prophet) directed by Jacques AUDIARD

Alain Resnais
Alain Resnais

Lifetime achievement award for his work and his exceptional contribution to the history of cinema


Brillante Mendoza
Brillante Mendoza

Best Director


Jury Prize

FISH TANK directed by Andrea ARNOLD
BAK-JWI (Thirst) directed by PARK Chan-Wook

Christoph WALTZ
Christoph WAL

Best Actor

Christoph WALTZ in INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS directed by Quentin TARANTINO  



Best Actress

Charlotte GAINSBOURG in ANTICHRIST directed by Lars von TRIER  


Best Screenplay


(Spring Fever) directed by LOU Ye


Close up

Michael Haneke and Isabelle Huppert
Michael Haneke and Isabelle Huppert
"The White Ribbon", Michael Haneke's drama about the troubles caused by ultra repressive education in a small German village at the beginning of the 20th century won the prestigious Palme d'Or.  The movie subtly examines  the routes of fascism using incredible black and white photography. However, one could question the President’s objectivity. One might remember that thanks to her part in Michael Haneke’s ‘La Pianiste’ she received the best actress award at Cannes in 2001. This of course could be mere coincidence but the ethic of the fesrtival is in this instance somewhat questionable. Embarrassing but not as embarrassing as the ceremony itself: The President, Isabelle Huppert, decided to shatter traditional protocol by bypassing Isabelle Adjani and giving the prize herself directly to the director, hugging him as he told her “I thank you a thousand times”…

The same question can be raised concerning Charlotte Gainsbourg and her best actress award. Even if her performance in Lars Von Tiers’ controversial movie has been unanimously applauded and if her speech was ‘touching’: “I think of my father tonight who would have been, I think, both proud and shocked”, it feels somehow as though the award list is made of old friends of the Cannes film Festival. Isabelle Huppert did not try to hide her delight as Charlotte Gainsbourg climbed the stairs.

Whatever it might be, French Cinema did rather well. Thanks to Charlotte Gainsbourg with her best actress award, but also to Jacques Audiard’s “Un prophète” who received the Grand Prix du Jury and last but not least to Alain Resnais who was awarded a special prize for his film career achievement, 50 years after “Hiroshima mon Amour. Combined with the Palme d’Or last year for The Class, it seems that French Cinema is on a roll once again!

More surprising however was the choice for best actor. 52 year old Austrian actor Christophe Waltz simply outstripped Brad Pitt in Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglorious Basterds”. No less!

At least, Lou Ye got a prize which seems to celebrate his political courage more than his film itself but still, with good reasons: coming from China, Lou Ye’s new movie “Spring Fever” has been censured in his homeland but the director was not afraid to campaign for freedom of expression for his fellow Chinese filmmakers. Cannes traditional token political moment?

Pedro Almodovar Penelope Cruz
Pedro Almodovar Penelope Cruz

If there is one man who should be disappointed, it is clearly Pedro Almodovar. Once again the Spanish director is the eternal bridesmaid. Let’s hope that one day he will get an award for his life achievement, he certainly deserves it. He, Tsai Ming-Liang, Johnnie To or Elia Suleiman stand for Cannes’s sad cortege of forgotten. unfortunate, but not everybody can be a winner!

Assuming that Cannes brings together the best of cinema and highlights the future trends, what is now to be expected from the public? Firstly, from the selection, it is obvious that joviality and light hearted humour is not the order of the day... but then again, this is a French film festival, what else do you expect? The selection is one of the darkest ever (no wonder they chose a cartoon as opening film) and the award list is not any funnier. From Charlotte Gainsbourg as a grieving mother who attacks both her husband and herself to the Best Director’s award given to Brillante Mendoza for his drama about a stripper who is in turn kidnapped, raped and tortured to death, violence and perversity have never been so strongly represented at Cannes… basically, the cinema is not the place to go if you're looking for easy-going escapism.

On another note, a return to the genre of cinema's self-representation was also observed. Take, for instance, Taiwanese Tsai Ming-Liang filming of a classical movie in “Visage”. The influence of Truffaut can be felt right through to the choice of actors: Jean Pierre Léaud, Jeanne Moreau, Fanny Ardant or Nathalie Baye. So, 50 years after the outburst of the French New Wave, what has changed in Cannes?

Even if the award list can be considered disappointing in comparison to the promises of the selection, one cannot deny the fact that Cannes has worked its magic once again. The Festival was, without a doubt, a feast for the eyes: beautiful movies, glamour and masters of cinema were all there to walk the red carpet. In fact, no matter how harsh the comments are, Cannes is never really bad! And, though it is true that the ceremony does not exactly reflect the majority of cinema goers’ taste, no one truly dislikes Cannes: rather, it is like the unashamedly beautiful exchange student at school- much too glamorous for confort, the one we all loved to hate yet couldn't take our eyes off.


Glamour at Cannes
Glamour at Cannes


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