Honor roll: Festival de Cannes Jury Awards for Feature Films

Each of these films has been nominated for a Festival de Cannes Jury Awards for Feature Films. They are ranked by honors received.

Film:Pulp Fiction

Pulp Fiction

Quentin Tarantino

With the knockout one-two punch of 1992’s Reservoir Dogs and 1994’s Pulp Fiction writer-director Quentin Tarantino stunned the filmmaking world, exploding into prominence as a cinematic heavyweight contender. But Pulp Fiction was more than just the follow-up to an impressive first feature, or the winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival, or a script stuffed with the sort of juicy bubblegum dialogue actors just love to chew, or the vehicle that reestablished John Travolta on the A-list, or the relatively low-budget ($8 million)…

Film:The Pianist (2002)

The Pianist

Roman Polanski

Winner of the prestigious Golden Palm award at the 2002 Cannes film festival, The Pianist is the film that Roman Polanski was born to direct. A childhood survivor of Nazi-occupied Poland, Polanski was uniquely suited to tell the story of Wladyslaw Szpilman, a Polish Jew and concert pianist (played by Adrien Brody) who witnessed the Nazi invasion of Warsaw, miraculously eluded the Nazi death camps, and survived throughout World War II by hiding among the ruins of the Warsaw ghetto. Unlike any previous dramatization of the Nazi holocaust, The Pianist

Film:Secrets & Lies

Secrets & Lies

Mike Leigh

If a film fan had never heard of director Mike Leigh, one might explain him as a British Woody Allen. Not that Leigh’s films are whimsical or neurotic; they are tough-love examinations of British life—funny, outlandish, and biting. His films share a real immediacy with Allen’s work: they feel as if they are happening now. Leigh works with actors—real actors—on ideas and language. There is no script at the start (and sometimes not at the end). Secrets and Lies involves Hortense (Marianne Jean-Baptiste), an elegant black woman wanting to learn her birth…

Film:The Piano

The Piano

Jane Campion

Jane Campion’s The Piano struck a deep chord (if you’ll excuse the expression) with audiences in 1993, who were mesmerized by the film’s rich, dreamlike imagery. It is the story of a Scottish woman named Ada (Holly Hunter), who has been mute since age 6 because she simply chose not to speak. Ada travels with her daughter Flora (Anna Paquin) and her beloved piano to a remote spot on the coast of New Zealand for an arranged marriage to a farmer (Sam Neill). She gives piano lessons to a gruff neighbor (Harvey Keitel) who has Maori tattoos on his face, and,…

Film:The Mission (1986)

The Mission

Roland Joffé

The Mission is director Roland Joffé’s fuzzy effort at an epic in David Lean style without David Lean’s sense of emotional proportion. In fact, Lean’s most important screenwriting collaborator, Robert Bolt, wrote The Mission, which concerns a Jesuit missionary (Jeremy Irons) who establishes a church in the hostile jungles of Brazil and then finds his work threatened by greed and political forces among his superiors.

Robert De Niro is briefly effective as a callous soldier who kills his own brother and then turns to Irons’s character to oversee…

Film:Missing (1982)

Missing

Costa-Gavras

The peril facing a lone American amid Third World political turmoil is elegantly communicated in this important film from Costa-Gavras (Z), adapted by the director and Donald Stewart from Thomas Hauser’s nonfiction book. The key to its power onscreen stems from the decision not to center the action merely on the disappearance of Charles Horman (John Shea), but also on the search for him by his father Ed (Jack Lemmon)—and on Ed’s discovery of a son he never knew. The Oscar-winning script flows freely between that search and Charles’s earlier experiences in…

Film:Apocalypse Now

Apocalypse Now

Francis Ford Coppola

In the tradition of such obsessively driven directors as Erich von Stroheim and Werner Herzog, Francis Ford Coppola approached the production of Apocalypse Now as if it were his own epic mission into the heart of darkness. On location in the storm-ravaged Philippines, he quite literally went mad as the project threatened to devour him in a vortex of creative despair, but from this insanity came one of the greatest films ever made. It began as a John Milius screenplay, transposing Joseph Conrad’s classic story “Heart of Darkness” into the horrors of the…

Film:Persepolis

Persepolis

Vincent Paronnaud, Marjane Satrapi

Tehran 1978: Eight-year-old Marjane dreams of being a prophet, intent on saving the world. Cherished by her modern and cultivated parents and adored by her grandmother, she avidly follows the events that lead to the downfall of the Shah’s brutal regime. Marjane, who must now wear the veil, dreams of being a revolutionary. Soon after, the city is bombarded in the war against Iraq. As her environment becomes increasingly repressive and dangerous, Marjane’s rebelliousness poses a serious problem. Her parents send her to Vienna where 14-year-old Marjane experiences another kind of revolution: adolescence, freedom and the dizzy heights of love but also with this excitement comes exile, loneliness and the bitter taste of life as an outcast.

Film:Amour (2012)

Amour

Michael Haneke

Georges and Anne are in their eighties. They are cultivated, retired music teachers. Their daughter, who is also a musician, lives abroad with her family. One day, Anne has an attack. The couple’s bond of love is severely tested.

Film:The Tree of Life

The Tree of Life

Terrence Malick

The Tree of Life is the impressionistic story of a Midwestern family in the 1950’s. The film follows the life journey of the eldest son, Jack, through the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years as he tries to reconcile a complicated relationship with his father (Brad Pitt). Jack (played as an adult by Sean Penn) finds himself a lost soul in the modern world, seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life while questioning the existence of faith. Through Terrence Malick’s signature imagery, we see how both brute nature and spiritual grace shape not only our lives as individuals and families, but all life.

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