On a rain-drenched Sunday evening at the Cannes Film Festival, Italian master Nanni Moretti’s jury gave the top Palm d’Or to Michael Haneke’s Love, a sweetly tragic tale of an elderly couple in France.
Austrian director Haneke had won the Palm in 2009 for The White Ribbon, a dark tale set in a remote pre-World War I German village, where signs of the impending catastrophe are clearly visible in the community and its inmates. Haneke’s earlier Funny Games, also at Cannes, was a revolting psychological thriller.
In fact, Love is the helmer’s most tender of movies, though the climax is both heart-rending and shocking. Love also marks the first time a filmmaker has won back to back Palms so quickly.
Love, incidentally, was also the favourite among Cannes critics, who had given the movie the highest number of stars, and it seemed in a long time that the jury and journalists were on the same wave length.
Unexpectedly, the Grand Prize went to Matteo Garrone’s Reality (from Italy about the current obsession with achieving celebrity status), and the Best Director Award to Mexico’s Carlos Reygadas for After Darkness, Illumination (a disappointing work).
The Jury Prize was given to British master Ken Loach’s The Angel’s Share, a lovely piece of cinema about a young father whose new-born son proves a turning point in his life of petty crime.
Mads Mikkelsen won the best actor trophy for playing a schoolteacher falsely accused of molesting his friend’s little girl in Thomas Vinterberg’s The Hunt.
The Best Actresses (sharing the prize) were Cosmina Stratan and Christina Flutor in Cristian Mungiu’s Beyond the Hills, set in a remote monastery where one of the girls ties to draw her best friend away from the life in black robes.
Mungiu also won the Best Screenplay Award.
(Gautaman Bhaskaran is covering the Cannes Film Festival for Hindustantimes.com)