Cannes gears up for the great finale

2010-05-22 10:14

Cannes is gearing up for its red carpet finale after a 12-day film

festival subdued by bad weather and an Icelandic volcano.

Alice in Wonderland director Tim Burton and his jury will hand out

the Palme d’Or tomorrow to one of 19 films submitted by directors as diverse as

Britain’s Mike Leigh, Iran’s Abbas Kiarostami and Mexico’s Alejandro Gonzalez


The Palme is the serious side of a festival that likes to liven up

high-brow fare with Hollywood glitz – which this year came from world premieres

of Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood and Oliver Stone’s Wall Street sequel.

The festival palace saw stars such as Russell Crowe, Naomi Watts,

Juliette Binoche and Michael Douglas sashay up its fabled red carpet, while

Cannes’ posh hotels hosted countless parties for the rich, the famous and the


But rain and chilly evenings, as well as travel disruption thanks

to Iceland’s Eyjafjöll volcano, meant the 63rd edition of the 12-day festival

was decidedly more low-key than usual.

Critics said Cannes 2010 might not go down as a vintage year.

“But it’s still the top festival in the world, even if this is not

a top year,” said Xan Brooks, a film writer for Britain’s Guardian paper, who

tipped Leigh and French director Xavier Beauvois as top contenders for the


Leigh’s Another Year looks undramatic on paper: a year in the life

of a happily married, middle-class couple, played by Jim Broadbent and Ruth

Sheen, who have not-so-happy boozy friends.

But Leigh insisted during his trip to Cannes that the slow-burning

family dramas that have made his name are about finding the fascination in

people’s so-called “ordinary” or “boring” lives.

Who’s hot, and who’s not

The British director faces stiff competition from compatriot Ken

Loach’s Route Irish, an Iraq war drama that probes the murky world of private

security contractors in the war-torn country.

War was a recurrent theme in this year’s festival, with Sean Penn

and Watts starring in Fair Game, the true tale of a CIA agent betrayed by the

George W Bush administration. It was filmed by The Bourne Identity director Doug


The film tells how the glamorous spy Valerie Plame was stitched up

by a vengeful White House after her diplomat husband publicly denounced its

claims that Iraq leader Saddam Hussein was working on weapons of mass


World War II came to Cannes in the form of Burnt by the Sun 2 by

Russia’s Nikita Mikhalkov, who has delivered a $40 million budget film about the

Nazi invasion of Russia. Mikhalkov himself plays a purged Red Army


A film about Algeria’s bitter struggle for independence from

France, Rachid Bouchareb’s Outside The Law, sparked protests by hundreds of

far-right and other demonstrators, who accused the film of distorting


Riot police with batons and shields lined up outside the festival

hall yesterday to make sure protesters were kept back.

France’s thorny relations with its former colony came up again in

Xavier Beauvois’s Of Gods and Men, a tale of Catholic monks caught up in

Islamist violence in Algeria.

Critics said Kiarostami was also a strong contender with Certified

Copy, which stars Juliette Binoche in the Iranian director’s first film shot in


Asia has a strong showing in the race for the Palme, with two

entries from South Korea – Poetry by Lee Chang-dong and Im Sang-soo’s The

Housemaid – and China, Japan and Thailand also represented.

Chadian director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s A Screaming Man was the

first African film made south of the Sahara to be selected in 13 years to

compete for the prize.

The festival’s big no-show was film legend Jean-Luc Godard, who

blamed mysterious “problems of a Greek type” for keeping him away from the

premiere of his latest movie, Film Socialism.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.