Romanian director's movie on abortion wins Cannes' Palme d'Or

Updated on May 28, 2007 01:06 PM IST
Romanian director Mungiu wins the Cannes Film Festival's coveted Palme d'Or for best film for his powerful portrayal of illegal abortion.
HT Image
HT Image
Reuters | ByMike Collett-White, Cannes

A hard-hitting Romanian movie set toward the end of the Communist era won the Cannes Film Festival's top honor on Sunday, May 27.

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days directed by Cristian Mungiu, was the critics' favorite to win the Palme d'Or in the buildup to a glittering red-carpet ceremony that ended the 12-day movie marathon on the French Riviera.

The film tells the grim story of young student friends Otilia and Gabita, who are ruthlessly exploited when one seeks an illegal abortion.

But despite being set in the pitiless and colorless landscape of socialist Romania, the story underlines the lengths to which friends go to save each other.

Mungiu welcomed the international attention the award would bring to his and other small-scale productions.

"I ... hope that this award that I am getting tonight is going to be good news for small filmmakers from small countries because it looks like you don't necessarily need a big budget and a lot of stars," he said.

4 Months was one of 22 films in competition, and beat a series of highly acclaimed pictures for the top prize as the world's biggest film festival celebrated its 60th birthday.

They included Alexandra by Russian art-house director Alexander Sokurov, and three U.S. entries -- No Country For Old Men by the Coen Brothers, Zodiac by David Fincher and Gus Van Sant's Paranoid Park.

Critics praised the Cannes selectors for a competition lineup they said was one of the strongest in recent years. There were few outright duds, and, while many stories were dark, if not depressing, they also portrayed great humanity.

The nine-member jury awarded the runner-up Grand Prix prize to The Mourning Forest, a lyrical Japanese movie about grief directed by Naomi Kawase.

Best director was Julian Schnabel for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly based on the true story of French journalist Jean-Dominique Bauby, who suffered a stroke and was paralyzed yet managed to write a book using one eyelid to communicate.

"I didn't see it as depressing," Schnabel told a news conference. "I think Jean-Dominique Bauby was saying to all of us: 'I was dead when I had my body. I was blind. It took the harsh light of disaster to show me my true nature.'"

The prize for best screenplay was awarded to German-Turkish director and writer Fatih Akin for The Edge of Heaven, a cross-border story of love and reconciliation.

Best actor was Konstantin Lavronenko, who played the male lead in Russian filmmaker Andrei Zvyagintsev's The Banishmentm, another gloomy film that features an abortion.

Best actress was Jeon Do-yeon for South Korean competition entry Secret Sunshine, an emotional drama about a woman overwhelmed by loss.

The Camera d'Or for first film went to Jellyfish, an Israeli-French production by Etgar Keret and Shira Geffen.

As ever, the limelight was frequently stolen by films and stars outside the main competition. Angelina Jolie was praised for her role in A Mighty Heart, about the kidnapping and beheading of reporter Daniel Pearl by Islamic militants, and Michael Moore, winner of the Palme d'Or in 2004, brought his provocative Sicko documentary to town.

George Clooney and Brad Pitt were on the red carpet to promote blockbuster Ocean's 13, Irish rockers U2 performed for a large crowd while Kylie Minogue, Elton John, Sharon Stone and Naomi Campbell worked the non-stop party circuit.

Close Story

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • A salvo of rockets is fired from Gaza City towards Israel, on Sunday. 

    Five more killed in Gaza amid truce reports: Health ministry

    Five more people were killed in Gaza on Sunday evening, the enclave's health ministry said, amid reports a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants may be imminent. "Thirty-six martyrs, among them 11 children and four women, and 311 injured," the health ministry said, raising the death toll in the Palestinian enclave from 31 since fighting began on Friday.

  • A Chinese military jet flies over Pingtan island, one of mainland China's closest points to Taiwan, in Fujian province.

    China keeps up pressure on Taiwan with fourth day of drills

    China said Sunday it carried out its fourth consecutive day of military drills in the air and sea around Taiwan in the wake of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to the self-ruled island, despite international calls to calm the tensions. The People's Liberation Army said the exercises focused on testing its long-range air and ground strikes. It did not say if it will continue the drills after Sunday.

  • United States President Joe Biden. 

    US Senate poised to pass Biden's cornerstone climate and health bill

    After months of negotiations, the US Senate looks poised to pass Joe Biden's grand climate and health care plan, channeling billions toward ambitious clean energy goals in a hard-won victory for the president ahead of midterm elections. "I think it's going to pass," the Democratic president, who recently recovered from a second bout of Covid-19, told journalists Sunday morning in a brief appearance on the White House lawn.

  • A Chinese military jet flies over Pingtan island, one of mainland China's closest points to Taiwan, in Fujian province on Saturday. Taiwan accused the Chinese army of simulating an attack on its main island on Saturday, as Beijing continued its retaliation for US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's Taipei visit. (AFP)

    China concludes Taiwan drills with ‘island saturation attack’, ‘bomber deterrence flights’

    China's People's Liberation Army on Sunday carried out “island saturation attack drills” and “bomber deterrence flights” as it concluded an unprecedented four-day military drill around self-governed Taiwan, launched in response to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to the island last week. The Taiwan-focused drills, which took place in six zones around the island, encircling it, began Thursday though advance drills had begun earlier.

  • People get off a coach at an entrance of Atlantis Sanya resort in Sanya, Hainan province, in November. (REUTERS)

    China’s Hainan starts mass Covid testing, imposes more lockdowns

    China's southern island province of Hainan started mass Covid-19 testing on Sunday, locking down more parts of the province of over 10 million residents, as authorities scramble to contain multiple Omicron-driven outbreaks, including the worst in capital Sanya, often called “China's Hawaii”. The number of cases in the province, rapidly spreading across the island located on the South China Sea, has crossed the 1100-mark from August 1 until Sunday noon.

Story Saved
Saved Articles
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Monday, August 08, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now