Cannes top prize goes to film on occupied Ireland

29th May 2006, Comments 0 comments

CANNES, France, May 29, 2006 (AFP) — British director Ken Loach was Monday savouring an overdue triumph at the Cannes film festival with a movie depicting the brutality of 1920s occupied Ireland which he said was equally applicable to today's Iraq.

CANNES, France, May 29, 2006 (AFP) — British director Ken Loach was Monday savouring an overdue triumph at the Cannes film festival with a movie depicting the brutality of 1920s occupied Ireland which he said was equally applicable to today's Iraq.

'The Wind That Shakes The Barley' won the festival's top prize, the Palme d'Or, in a glittering closing ceremony late Sunday packed with stars and celebrities.

It tells the tale of Ireland's struggle for independence from Britain through the experiences of a young doctor who joins a rag—tag band of guerrillas fighting the ruthless British occupiers.

The film is savage in its depiction of the violence that reigned, and unflinchingly shows what happens when an unpopular peace treaty which pledges allegiance to the British crown tears the doctor and his brother apart.

The 69—year—old director, who had missed out on a Palme d'Or win seven times previously in his long career, has been blunt in drawing parallels between his movie and the bloody situation in Iraq today.

"Maybe if we tell the truth about the past, maybe we tell the truth about the present," he said as he accepted the award from French actress Emmanuelle Béart.

'The Wind That Shakes The Barley' beat out 19 other films to grab the festival's gold trophy.

The runner—up Grand Prix went to another war—themed movie with overtones of Iraq, 'Flanders' by French director Bruno Dumont, which examines the effects a conflict in an unnamed Middle East country has on a young farmer.

Also significantly, the best actor prize went collectively to the French Arab male cast of yet another movie with similar content: 'Days of Glory', by a French director of Algerian background, Rachid Bouchareb, which shows Algerians and Moroccans fighting for France in World War II.

The Cannes jury, headed by Hong Kong director Wong Kar—Wai, acknowledged that many of the films seen had a militaristic edge that reflected the state of the world today.

"There has been a lot of violence, a lot of brutality. We've had to enter very bleak landscapes, intently bleak landscapes," one jury member, actress Helena Bonham Carter said.

A co—panelist, Palestinian director Elia Suleiman, said the jury had not awarded prizes based on the political intent of films but rather for their story—telling qualities.

Nevertheless, he said: "I think what is interesting about the films in this competition is that a lot of them are engaged with the issues of the world today. I don't think it's by accident. We are living in a troubled global atmosphere."

Loach, speaking in a post—ceremony press conference, said: "I don't need to spell it out but the wars we have seen, the occupations we have seen throughout the world, people can't turn away from that."

The favourite film for the many critics who flocked to Cannes, 'Volver' by Spain's Pedro Almodovar, ended up taking the best screenplay and best actress prizes —— the latter going to the entire female cast, led by Penelope Cruz.

'Babel', another widely acclaimed ensemble piece about the perils of cultural incomprehension starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, earned Mexico's Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu the best director's award.

'Marie Antoinette', the long—awaited new film by 'Lost in Translation' director Sofia Coppola went away empty—handed after being booed in its press screening.

'Pan's Labyrinth', an impressive fantasy pic set in fascist Spain and directed by Mexico's Guillermo del Toro, also failed to pick up a gong despite generating much positive buzz.

The 12—day festival began in Hollywood fashion, with the out—of—competition world premiere of the blockbuster 'The Da Vinci Code', which has gone on to big box office business despite the critical scorn heaped on it.

Red carpet projections of that and other movies, including 'X—Men: The Last Stand' and 'Over the Hedge', attracted a constant stream of stars.

Among them were Bruce Willis, Keanu Reeves, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Ian McKellen, Gérard Depardieu, Michelle Yeoh, Cate Blanchett and Emmanuelle Béart.

Former US vice—president Al Gore also put in an appearance for 'An Inconvenient Truth', in which he warns about global warming, as did director Oliver Stone, who was on hand at the projection of his upcoming film about the September 11, 2001 attacks, 'World Trade Center'.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article