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:The Son's Room

The Son's Room: (La Stanza del Figlio)

Nanni Moretti

Italian filmmaker Nanni Moretti’s signature talent for the overheard, unexpected, and happened-upon detail lends The Son’s Room, the story of a grieving middle-class family, the unnerving quality of an unwanted surprise. Giovanni (Moretti) is a successful psychoanalyst whose family life is remarkably placid and enviously intimate: his beautiful wife (Laura Morante) and two intelligent, attractive teenage children are unafraid of their emotions. When his son, Andrea (Giuseppe Sanfelice), drowns in a diving accident, Giovanni is driven to suspend his…

Film:Dancer in the Dark

Dancer in the Dark

Lars von Trier

Masterpiece or masquerade? Lars von Trier’s digicam musical split the critics in two when it debuted at Cannes in 2000. There were those who saw it as a cynical shock-opera from a manipulative charlatan, others wept openly at its scenes of raw emotion and heart-rending intensity. There is, however, no in-between. Dancer in the Dark is that rarest of creatures, a film that dares to push viewers to the limits of their feelings.

In her first and most probably last screen performance (she has foresworn acting after her bruising on-set rows with von Trier),…

Film:A Prophet (Un prophète)

A Prophet: Un prophète

Jacques Audiard

Condemned to six years in prison, Malik El Djebena cannot read nor write. Arriving at the jail entirely alone, he appears younger and more fragile than the other convicts. He is 19 years old. Cornered by the leader of the Corsican gang who rules the prison, he is given a number of “missions” to carry out, toughening him up and gaining the gang leader’s confidence in the process.

But Malik is brave and a fast learner, daring to secretly develop his own plans…

Film:Gomorra

Gomorra

Matteo Garrone

Power, money and blood: these are the “values” that the residents of the Province of Naples and Caserta, have to face every day. They hardly ever have a choice, and are almost always forced to obey the rules of the “system”, the Camorra. Only a lucky few can even think of leading a “normal” life.

Five stories are woven together in this violent scenario, set in a cruel and apparently imaginary world, but one which is deeply rooted in reality.

Film:The Mourning Forest

The Mourning Forest: (Mogari no Mori)

Naomi Kawase

Shigeki is comfortable and happy in his small retirement home. The staff is gentle and caring, but Machiko, secretly haunted by the loss of her child, pays special attention to Shigeki. One day, after celebrating Shigeki’s birthday, Machiko and Shigeki take a drive in the countryside. Making their way along the scenic back roads the car is forced into a ditch by a landslide. Shigeki determinedly heads off into the forest, and Machiko has no choice but to follow. Two exhausting days of discovery end at Shigeki’s wife’s tomb.

Film:Flandres

Flandres

Bruno Dumont

Flanders. Demester shares his time between his farm and walks with Barbe, his childhood friend. He loves her, secretly and painfully, accepting from her the little that she can give him. Along with others his age, Demester leaves to be a soldier in a war in a far off land. Barbarity, camaraderie and fear turn Demester into a warrior. As the seasons go by, Barbe, alone and wasting away, waits for the soldiers to return. Will Demester’s intense love for Barbe save him?

Film:Broken Flowers

Broken Flowers

Jim Jarmusch

Bill Murray gives yet another simple, seemingly effortless, yet illuminating performance in Jim Jarmusch’s Broken Flowers. Don Johnston (Murray, Lost in Translation, Rushmore) receives an anonymous letter telling him that he has a 19 year old son who’s looking for him. Don only decides to investigate at the prompting of his neighbor Winston (the indispensable Jeffrey Wright, Shaft, Basquiat), who not only tracks down the current addresses of the possible mothers, he plans Don’s entire trip down to the rental cars. Almost against…

Film:Uzak

Uzak

Nuri Bilge Ceylan

The highly acclaimed, award-winning Turkish film Distant is a deeply compassionate and frequently amusing study of quiet desperation, prompting many critics to favorably compare writer-director Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s subtly hypnotic drama to the films of Ozu and Tarkovsky. Watch closely and you’ll recognize someone you know, or even yourself, and the quietest moments are the most enjoyably revealing. Muzaffer Özdemir and Mehmet Emin Toprak shared Best Actor honors at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival for their perfectly nuanced performances as (respectively)…

Film:The Man Without a Past

The Man Without a Past

Aki Kaurismäki

The spare and quirky comedy of Finnish auteur Aki Kaurismaki is in delightful form in The Man Without a Past. A man (Markku Peltola) awakens after a brutal mugging with no memory; he wanders into the outskirts of Helsinki with his face wrapped like an escapee from a classic horror film. A destitute family helps nurse him back to health and a Salvation Army worker named Irma (Kati Outinen) helps him get a job. Though bureaucrats and policemen who can’t seem to cope with this amnesiac’s lack of established identity, the amnesiac plants potatoes,…

Film:The Piano Teacher

The Piano Teacher: (La Pianiste)

Michael Haneke

An unexpected critical (Grand Prix at Cannes) and commercial (three months in London’s West End) success on its release in 2001, The Piano Teacher is a provocative, but ultimately frustrating, film. The intensifying relationship between Erika Kohut, a Viennese piano teacher whose musical focus is gradually undone by sexual repression, and Walter Klemmer, her uninhibited but unsuspecting student and admirer, lacks an underlying motivation, either physical or emotional, to sustain the tortuous encounters of the film’s later stages.

Director Michael…

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