Two prestigious awards – the Oscars and Cannes offer trophies that can kick many doors open for world cinema. Doors that could mean not just returns, but audience and acceptance that take validations these circuits offer, very seriously.
How the Cannes can stand out (from the superficial and marketing-driven Oscar) by batting for world films with handicaps was demonstrated once again, when the Palme d’Or was handed to “the less fancied” ‘Dheepan‘.
If the Telegraph is to be believed, thanks to the Coens. Perhaps, a smaller set of independently thinking jury trumps an academy with a patented herd-mentality.
The award came as a shock not because Audiard’s film had been particularly badly received, but because it had failed to generate much “buzz” – that unquantifiable airborne charge at Cannes that gets cinephiles excitedly chattering in queues, barging though crowds to get to catch-up screenings, and feuding over a film’s perceived merits or otherwise over the evening’s second bottle of rosé.
Perhaps Dheepan’s buzz was unfairly stifled: it screened to a thinned-out and bleary crowd at 8.30am on the day after the 1am premiere of Gaspar Noé’s sexually explicit 3D film Love, which was – until critics saw it, at least – the hottest ticket in town.
Perhaps because of the Coens’ own fondness for the macabre, bookies had The Lobster as the 5/2 favourite to win the Palme d’Or, with Dheepan a relatively distant 12/1 outsider. But once again, Cannes has retained the element of surprise.