These were followed by Beijing-based Jia Zhangke’s (賈樟柯) latest expose of the human fallout from his nation’s rapid and convulsive change in 24 City (二十四城).
French director Arnaud Desplechin won several festival critics’ hearts with his A Christmas Tale (Un Conte de Noel), about a family torn apart by a child’s death.
At the same time, Brazilian directors Walter Salles and Daniela Thomas launched a challenge from the big contingent of Latin American movies vying for the festival’s top awards with Linha de Passe, which portrays four brothers trying to follow their dreams in Sao Paulo’s slums.
Italian director Matteo Garrone’s almost apocalyptic Gomorrah, about a world gone mad and under the thumb of the Mafia, and Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s look at Europe’s arranged-marriage business, marked the festival’s confident move into the second week.
Gomorrah won of the festival’s top prizes, the Grand Prix, while the Dardenne brothers were handed the best screenplay award.
Then came veteran US director Clint Eastwood’s highly rated The Exchange, about how a mother’s determination to find her lost son triggered a major shakeout in Los Angeles’ police and political establishment in the 1920s.
One of the movies generating the most division among festival goers this year at Cannes was another big Hollywood studio film, Steven Soderbergh’s more than four-hour, two-part epic about the Latin American revolutionary leader Che Guevara.
Some thought it was masterful; others thought the Sex, Lies and Videotape director should go back the drawing board. Either way, Benicio Del Toro won the best actor award for his portrayal of Che.