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Cannes Diaries: A mixed bag of winners, minus Tarantino

  • Published at 04:07 am May 26th, 2019
'Parasite' by South Korea's Bong Joon-ho wins Palme d'Or | AFP

As the director, Robert Eggers, and the lead actors Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe, had already left Cannes, the Fipresci award was presented to the producer who got very emotional 

After 12 days of nonstop screenings, meetings, conferences and what not, the 72nd Cannes Film Festival finally came to an end with an elaborate closing ceremony on Saturday at 7:15pm. Moments before that, I was at a different hall at the Palais de Festival, Salon des Ambassadeurs, presenting the critics’ awards with my fellow juries at a separate ceremony on the same day. 

Winners were notified before:

As the director, Robert Eggers, and the lead actors Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe, had already left Cannes, the award was presented to the producer. He got very emotional when he heard the news the day before. When we got up on the stage to announce the winners, he did not act surprised. He even gave us another call after the ceremony to say how happy he was. 

Sadia Khalid Reeti with the producer of 'The Lighthouse' and others 

International media published the news at the speed of lightning:

Some magazines like Variety published the news during the ceremony while The Hollywood Reporter published it a few minutes before the announcements. Here’s how that happened.

The jury had a meeting the day before where all the winners were decided. Then the jury coordinator sent out a press release with an embargo on publishing before the awards ceremony. So, those media outlets who pride themselves in breaking every film related news, had their news ready beforehand. This is why their news had our statements, which were provided before, but not the producer’s or director’s statements which were given at the ceremony. Why didn’t we think of that before?

Robert Eggers expressed his deep gratitude:

Since we didn’t go the Variety route, lets include the talented director’s statement and make this truly exclusive. 

“I regret that I’m not able to accept this award in person,” said Robert Eggers. “Thank you so much to the International Federation of Film Critics for this esteemed honour.”

He thanked his team and the incredible actors in his message. 

“Thank you to my passionate collaborators, to Pattinson and Dafoe, brother Max (Max Eggers) the co-writer and all the heads of departments that challenged each other to do better work than what we thought we were capable of,” he said.

He called the critics “the cinema’s heralds” after this touching appreciation of our work. 

“Finally, this award is unique,” he said. “It’s an overwhelming feeling to see that one’s work is being understood and recognised by this community of critics. It’s your powerful words that help usher films into the world that would otherwise not find audiences.”

Too many good films competed for the Palme d’Or:

Even moments before the Palme d’Or was announced, the critics at our ceremony were whispering names of different favourites for the top prize. One award everyone seemed to agree upon was Antonio Banderas winning the Best Actor award. 

Since Tarantino came back to Cannes for the closing ceremony, the general understanding was that he might be winning the Best Director award, if not the Palme d’Or. Unfortunately, the movie went home empty handed and the South Korean dark comedy, “Parasite,” by Bong Joon-ho received the elusive honour. 

I would’ve loved to write a bit about the winning films, but most of the films I watched were in the Director’s Fortnight and Critics’ Week and not the competition section. 

Last year, the Japanese film “The Shoplifters” by Hirokazu Kore-eda won the grand prix. In a more or less Eurocentric film festival, it makes us hopeful to see Asian films get this prize two years in a row.