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All eyes on the Palme d'Or hopefuls

Sadness spreads here as pavilions and the Marche begin to close, and the Croisette rang with the rattle of leaving luggage. Still four days to go for closure and naming of film makers, whose lives will be changed by Cannes' crystal and gold palms waving over them.

entertainment Updated: May 20, 2011 23:48 IST

Sadness spreads here as pavilions and the Marche begin to close, and the Croisette rang with the rattle of leaving luggage. Still four days to go for closure and naming of film makers, whose lives will be changed by Cannes' crystal and gold palms waving over them.

There is little doubt that this 64th Festival will be remembered in the list of these carnivals of cinema by the Mediterranean. To start with, the turnout. Nowhere else can count, in a single competition as this edition has done, Almodovar, von Trier, Kaurismaki, the Dardennes brothers. Woody Allen (out of competition), Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Sorrentino, Nani Moretti and Jury panels headed by folks like Robert de Niro and Emir Kusturica.

Then, the content. This Cannes has taken a beady squint at humanity. When it was good, it was very, very good and when it was bad, it was horrid. To start with the bad, we were presented a service of abused children, pedophilia, vicious under-age murderers and mothers deserting maternal feeling, frightening depictions of the last two aberrations. But along come Aki Kaurismaki's Le Havre and the Dardennes' The Kid and his Cycle. Both are in line for the Palme d'Or (Golden Palm, the top prize) in the estimation of the critics and wise ones.

Le Havre tells of Marx, a shoeshine veteran at the Normandy port, coping with a life in which pedestrians have opted for trainers and his wife has inoperable cancer. Into this drops a boy from Chad, arrived by metal container along with 25 others through a computer error.

In The Kid and his Cycle Cyril is an 11-year old fired by an obsession to be re-united with his father, who has left him in an institution, and a decrepit but beloved bike.

Von Tier ejected
Lars von Trier, winner of more than one top prize at the Cannes International Film Festival was declared "persona non grata" by festival authorities Thursday night.

At a press conference, the German-descent Dane had declared himself "Nazi" and that he "understood Hitler." Although later von Trier withdrew his remarks and said he subscribed to no racist positions or anti-Semitism, festival authorities declared "persona non grata" (an unacceptable person) saying his views and statements were totally unacceptable.