The Tree Of Life Takes The Top Prize At Cannes

Well it was bound to happen, after two years of trying to get Terrence Malick‘s epic The Tree of Life into the Cannes Film Festival it was unlikely that the film would not receive the top recognition. So it’s official, the film won the Palme d’Or. I haven’t seen the film but James’ review wasn’t so keen, in fact he deeply hated it.

It’s clearly going to be a controversial but many people expected it to happen, some even called the win predictable. Of course the fiercely reclusive Malick did not turn up to receive the award, because he is, according to his producers, a bit shy. Which I think is a bit rude.

Anyway, in explaining the choice at the final press conference, Robert De Niro, the head of the jury, said:

Most of us felt the movie was terrific. I can’t go into all the details, but we felt that it was a film that in its scope and its intentions was the best fit for the Palme d’Or. This decision was difficult because the other films were also very good, albeit very different. We had to find a compromise. There were some intense debates over a number of films, three in particular: PaterSleeping Beauty and Le Havre. But Habemus Papam and The Skin I Live In also stimulated discussion.

Personally I would have loved to see Pedro Almodovar win it, because I’m a fan of his anyway. In the past he has won prizes: Best Director for All About My Mother and Best Screenplay for Volver but never has got the top prize. Elsewhere some surprise winners for many, Kirsten Dunst won Best Actress for her turn in Lars von Trier‘s Melancholia and the widely panned Polisse won the Jury prize.

Tilda Swinton was widely tipped for her turn in We Need To Talk About Kevin a film that came away savagely empty handed. The universally loved silent film The Artist only picked up one award: the Best Actor prize, won by Jean Dujardin. Also popular was Nicolas Winding Refn‘s Best Director win for Drive.

You can see a full list of winners below. But after this win The Tree of Life will be likely pushed for some serious Oscar consideration and is already whetting the appetite of many arthouse fans in the States where it will be released on Friday. (The Playlist)

Palme d’Or: Terrence Malick, The Tree Of Life
The Grand Prix: (tied) Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, The Kid with a Bike and Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Once Upon A Time In Anatolia
Best Director: Nicolas Winding RefnDrive
Best Actor: Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Best Actress: Kirsten Dunst, Melancholia
Best Screenplay: Joseph Cedar, Footnote
The Jury Prize: Maïwenn, Polisse
Camera d’Or: Pablo Giorgelli, Las Acacias
Short Film Palme d’Or: Maryna Vroda, Cross-Country