IAR Cannes Wrap Up: 'Tree of Life' Wins the Palme d'Or on Closing Day

Sunday, 22 May 2011 18:58 Written by  Jordan DeSaulnier
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IAR Cannes Wrap Up: 'Tree of Life' Wins the Palme d'Or on Closing Day

One of the most discussed events at the 64th Cannes Film Festival – aside from Lady Gaga performing on the Croisette, Woody Allen debuting a film everyone agrees it pretty damn good, and provocateur Lars von Trier making a bad joke or two – was last Monday's premiere of The Tree Of Life.  The film from venerated auteur Terrance Malick was intended to premiere at last year's fest, but Malick was busy fine-tuning his opus, which stars Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain, and Sean Penn.  At the closing ceremony on Sunday, Malick's latest was awarded the festival's highest honor, despite less-than ecstatic reviews.

To say that reviews weren't rapturous is not a knock on The Tree Of Life.  Reviews have been positive, but anticipation for the delayed debut of the latest from Malick was such that many viewers were evidently expecting the film to redefine the very possibilities of cinema.  Still, the film evidently impressed this year's jury, headed by Robert DeNiro and including Jude Law, Uma Thurman, Olivier Assayas, Johnnie To, and Linn Ullmann.

Given that The Tree Of Life didn't live up to the perhaps-unreasonable expectations, it is something of a surprise that the jury awarded the Palme d'Or to Malick's opus.  Co-writer and director Lynne Ramsay's intense drama We Need to Talk About Kevin has received almost unanimous praise, as has Michael Hazanavicius's The Artist.  Both films were seen as more likely to win the Palme, yet the former was shut out entirely, and the latter won the Best Actor award for Jean Dujardin

Keep in mind that Festival rules prohibit any film from winning more than one award.

Here's the full list of winners, including erstwhile Mary Jane Watson Kirsten Dunst's Best Actress honor for her performance in Melancholia.

Palme d’Or: The Tree Of Life (dir: Terrence Malick)

Grand Prix (Runner-up to Palme d'Or): (tie) Kid With A Bike (dir: the Dardenne Brothers), Once Upon A Time In Anatolia (Nuri Bilge Ceylan)

Best Actor: Jean Dujardin (The Artist)

Mise en Scene (Director): Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive)

Best Actress: Kirsten Dunst (Melancholia)

Prix du Scenario (Screenplay): Joseph Cedar, Footnote

Prix Du Jury: Poliss (dir: Maiwenn)

Palme d'Or Court Metrage (Short Film) : Cross Country (dir: Maryna Vroda)

Camera d'Or (First Film): Las Acasias (dir: Pablo Giorgelli)

Good news, American audiences! Almost all of these films have secured stateside distribution: The Tree of Life hits theaters in less than a week, on May 26th; Kid With a Bike was acquired by Sundance Selects; The Weinstein Company will release The Artist near the end of this year; and most importantly, Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive is set for September.  Huzzah.

And with that, we've arrived at the end of this year's Cannes Film Festival.  We'll see you next year, you rakishly good looking movie lovers.

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