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in Filmmaking
on May 25, 2008

Indiewire has the winners of the 2008 Cannes Film Festival, and there are surprises all around. First, the Stateside scuttlebutt that Soderbergh’s Che would be awarded the Palme d’Or was wrong. Benicio del Toro won the Best Actor award for the film, but the festival’s top honor went to Laurent Cantet’s Entre Les Murs (“The Class”), the latest from the director of Human Resources and Vers le Sud and the last film to screen for the jury.

Here’s the lede from Justin Chang’s Variety review:

A fully sustained immersion in the academics, attitudes and frequent altercations of a group of junior high school students, “The Class” marks Laurent Cantet’s return to the sharply observed social dynamics and involving character drama that distinguished his 1999 debut, “Human Resources.” Talky in the best sense, the film exhilarates with its lively, authentic classroom banter while its emotional undercurrents build steadily but almost imperceptibly over a swift 129 minutes. One of the most substantive and purely entertaining movies in competition at Cannes this year, it will further cement Cantet’s sterling reputation among discerning arthouse auds in France and overseas.

Michael Phillips at the Chicago Tribune is equally enthusiastic.

And here are excerpts from Cantet’s Cannes press conference.

(A big congratulations to Laurent and the producers, my good friends Carole Scotta and Caroline Benjo from Haut et Court.)

The Grand Prix (runner-up) went to Gomorra, by Matteo Garrone; Best Director to Nuri Bilge Ceylan for Three Monkeys; Best Screenplay to the Dardenne Brothers for Lorna’s Silence; the Jury Prize went to Il Divo, by Paolo Sorrentino; and the “Prix to 61st Festival de Cannes” went to Catherine Deneuve, for her performance in Un Conte de Noel, and Clint Eastwood, director of The Exchange.

The Camera d’Or for Best First Feature went to the British artist Steve McQueen for his debut, Hunger. A special mention went to Ils Mourront Tous Sauf Moi, by Valeria Gai Guermanika.

The Palme d’Or for best short went to Metron, directed by Marian Crisan, and Jerrycan, directed by Julius Avery.

Here are the Un Certain Regard prizes:

Prix Un Certain Regard: Sergey Dvortsevoy’s Tulpan
Jury prize: Kurosawa Kiyoshi’s Tokyo Sonata
Other winners: Andreas Dresen’s Wolke 9 (Heat Throb Jury Prize), James Toback’s Tyson (The Knockout of Un Certain Regard) and Jean-Stephane Sauvaire’s Johnny Mad Dog (The Prize of Hope).

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