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The 63th Cannes Film Festival final ceremony opens

Video by Nadia CHARBIT

Text by Jon FROSCH

Latest update : 2010-05-23

Suspense was in the air in Cannes Sunday evening as the Tim Burton-led jury started revealing the names of winners.

Journalists could be seen scampering around Cannes Sunday, cramming in a few final screenings, racing against the clock to meet final deadlines, and fighting the urge to join other festival-goers basking on sun-drenched beaches behind the Croisette. The motor that kept them running, aside from way too many coffees, was the anticipation of tonight’s awards ceremony - and the whispers of rumours getting louder by the minute.

The fact that this year’s crop was considered generally weak, and that no single film emerged as a clear, unanimously declared home run or frontrunner, only added to the sense of mystery surrounding the possible winners.

One critic who wished to remain anonymous said sources close to the jury, which is said to have completed its top-secret meetings, had leaked some of the films and performances that might snag prizes: the coveted Palme d’Or, or second and third places, best director, and best screenplay could very well go to Frenchman Xavier Beauvois’ haunting fact-based drama Of Gods and Men (Des hommes et des dieux)  and South Korean Lee Chang-dong’s touching melodrama Poetry; less universally admired entries like Frenchman Mathieu Amalric’s bawdy, bittersweet Tournée (On Tour) and Chadian Mahamat Saleh-Haroun’s slightly clumsy, but affecting father-son story A Screaming Man were also said to be in the running for awards.

Mike Leigh’s layered ensemble dramedy Another Year was mostly adored by critics, but it remains to be seen whether the film will make it into the winners’ circle. A late-competition entry that dazzled half the press and bored the other half silly, Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, was not mentioned by the source close to the jury.

For Best Actor, rising Italian star Elio Germano was said to be the frontrunner for his role as a young man struggling to raise his kids after his wife’s death in Italian Daniele Luchetti’s mediocre La Nostra Vita (Our Life). Most critics have been predicting that Javier Bardem would take home the prize for a powerful star performance in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s otherwise excruciatingly overwrought Biutiful.

Juliette Binoche was tipped to beat out other favourites – Lesley Manville’s needy alcoholic in Another Year and Yun Junghee’s resourceful grandma in Poetry – for her virtuoso turn as the lovelorn leading lady in Abbas Kiarostami’s Certified Copy.

Suspense before the ceremony was further heightened by the fact that jury president Tim Burton is known to have quirky tastes that don’t necessarily mesh with the mostly sombre competition offerings.

Date created : 2010-05-23