From best paunch to wackiest title: Cannes’ other awards
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Cannes’ traditional Palme Dog has gone to Dixie, the four-legged hero of Miguel Gomes’s six-hour epic “Arabian Nights”. As we wait for the Palme d’Or, here are a few more crucial, and trivial, awards from the 68th Cannes Film Festival.
‘Tom Selleck’ prize for best moustache
Hipster fashion was on full display at the festival with a profusion of moustaches that made uncool characters look decidedly cool. A bald wizard with huge whiskers and eyelashes in Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s “The Assassin” sported the weirdest facial hair, while Vincent Lindon’s bushy moustache gave his stiff upper lip extra gravitas in the excellent “The Measure of a Man”. There was also a dubious Hitler toothbrush for Paul Dano in Paolo Sorrentino’s “Youth”, and a hilarious regular mo sported by John Turturro in Nanni Moretti’s “My Mother”. But the “Palme Tache” must go to the marvelously quaint and unmanly Colin Farrell for his part in Yorgos Lanthimos’s deadpan surrealist satire “The Lobster”.
Best 'dad bod'
Farrell’s out-of-shape character is also a strong entry in the best paunch category, which enjoyed a bumper festival this year. His hairy pot belly surely made for the festival’s cutest "dad bod", but in terms of sheer girth it was no match for home favourite Gérard Depardieu. The larger-than-life French actor won praise for his touching performance in Guillaume Nicloux’s “Valley of Love”, which sees him sweating and panting shirtless for much of the film. And yet even Depardieu could not beat the Maradona lookalike in Sorrentino’s “Youth”. His display of football skills, bouncing a tennis ball with still-agile feet while dragging his humongous belly around the court, is a pure treat.
Joachim Trier’s “Louder than Bombs” felt a little underwhelming after the director’s magnificent “Oslo, August 31”. But it had plenty to draw from, including a wonderfully ambivalent character in Jonah, played by Jesse Eisenberg. This extract begins with glorious slow-mo footage of gymnasts somersaulting in the air and ends with evidence of Jonah’s phony nature (though sadly it stops just before Jonah goes on to put down his younger brother Conrad).
Cannes’ bow-tied red carpet photographers are possibly the most important cog in the festival’s media machine. Their ubiquitous pictures adorn newspapers, websites and fashion magazines, making and breaking the careers and reputation of stars and couturiers. This year, our photographer singled out Emma Stone as the best performer – though he could barely conceal his nostalgia for last year’s once-in-a-lifetime red carpet for “The Expendables”, complete with a Soviet-era tank rolling down the Croisette. The morning photocalls are a chance for more intimate photo sessions, none more touching and amusing than the one that preceded the screening of Guillaume Nicloux’s “Valley of Love”. According to our photographer, French cinema icon Isabelle Huppert spent much of the session dodging Gérard Depardieu’s repeated attempts to get a kiss on the cheek.
Best music we never heard
Matteo Garrone’s fable “The Tale of Tales” delighted some critics and frustrated just as many, including me. It turned out that all the best scenes had been crammed into the trailer, which also featured hauntingly beautiful music. I spent much of the build-up to the festival humming that tune, but was dismayed to find that it never played during the film – unless I slept through that bit.
Dixie, the four-legged protagonist of Miguel Gomes’s six-hour plus epic “Arabian Nights”, has won the coveted Palme Dog, rewarding the best canine performance. The Maltese poodle topped a highly competitive field that included neo-Nazi Rottweilers in Jeremy Saulnier’s grisly punk thriller the “Green Room” and a human-turned-mongrel in “The Lobster”. Lanthimos’s bizarre plot about humans being turned into animals if they fail to find a partner inevitably produced plenty of on-screen wildlife, including an unfortunate donkey and a gorgeous ginger pony (though curiously no crustaceans). But my vote goes to the freckled elephant that makes regular dreamlike appearances in Jacques Audiard’s “Dheepan”.
A walk through the Cannes film market is always a welcome break from the packed screenings and red carpet circus. This is where one comes across posters for the forthcoming “Sharknado 3” – the latest installment in the improbably entertaining shark-infested tornado saga starring Ian Zeiring – and searches in vain for a sequel to the exquisite Japanese horror comedy “Dead Sushi”. Asian filmmakers always come up with the juiciest and most unlikely story ideas and film titles. Indian production “The Monk who Fucked a Limousine” has to be this year’s most outrageous.
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