‘On Tour,’ ‘Of Gods,’ ‘HaHaHa’ take early Cannes prizes

Posted by · 12:11 pm · May 22nd, 2010

The big guns, the Competition jury, announce their prizewinners tomorrow night, but ahead of that, there are a host of smaller, independent juries making their voices heard.

I’ve just returned from the Un Certain Regard award ceremony, a short, sweet tuxedoes-and-sneakers affair presided over by UCR jury president Claire Denis. As delighted as I was to see one of our greatest living filmmakers in the (tiny) flesh, I was less pleased with her team’s selection — by handing their top prize to Hong Sangsoo’s wispy romcom “HaHaHa,” they continued an increasingly disconcerting trend whereby films that I walk out of at major festivals are handsomely rewarded. (Hey, I wasn’t alone: James Rocchi bailed too.)

The Ecumenical Jury got that memo, too, handing their top prize to another film I didn’t finish, Xavier Beauvois’s “Of Gods and Men.” Of course, that was a gimme — if you don’t know, the Ecumenical Jury Prize was established in 1974 by a group of Christian film professionals to reward expressions of faith and/or humanism in Competition. How was the true-life tragedy of monk massacre in Algeria not going to win?

The Ecumenical Jury also singled out Mike Leigh’s “Another Year” and Lee Chang-dong’s “Poetry” for Commendations — I have a hunch all three of their picks could find themselves rewarded at the big show tomorrow.

Less so the choice of the FIPRESCI Jury — comprised of assorted international film critics — which sprung a surprise by selecting Mathieu Amalric’s freewheeling backstage dramedy “On Tour” as the best film in Competition. I’m quite pleased to see some credit going to one of the most purely enjoyable films in the lineup, but not all critics rate it as highly. Last year, FIPRESCI aligned with the main jury in laurelling “The White Ribbon”; this time, I have a feeling they’ll part ways.

Today’s awards:


Competition: “On Tour,” Mathieu Amalric
Un Certain Regard: “Pal Adrienn,” Agnes Kocsis
Directors’ Fortnight: “Todos vos sodes capitans,” Olivier Laxe


Un Certain Regard Prize: “HaHaHa,” Hong Sangsoo
Jury Prize: “Octubre,” Daniel and Diego Vega
Performance Prize: Adela Sanchez, Eva Bianco and Victoria Raposo, “Los Labios”


Ecumenical Jury Prize: “Of Gods and Men,” Xavier Beavois
Commendations: “Another Year,” Mike Leigh; “Poetry,” Lee Chang-dong

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8 responses so far

  • 1 5-22-2010 at 12:54 pm

    sangsoo fan said...

    oh boo, hong sangsoo is one of my favorite filmmakers and i’m glad to see him rewarded, even if the consensus is that this is one of his second-tier works. he’s been churning out nothing but great understated comedy-dramas for the past decade and he deserves this. hopefully it will get a u.s. release

  • 2 5-22-2010 at 2:21 pm

    James D. said...

    Amalric with a moustache is one of the more confusing images I have ever seen. It looks so wrong.

  • 3 5-22-2010 at 2:24 pm

    red_wine said...

    I am shocked! On Tour of all things, did not see that coming at all. Something tells me there are gonna be surprises tomorrow.

    In UCR everybody just assumed Film Socialisme would take it, Godard being this legendary titan but pretty much nobody seems to have understood it.

    The Ecumenical could be seen a mile off though. But did the FIPRESCI Jury find the competetion so slim that they gave it to a film which you yourself said was like a mild diversion?

    I hope this not one of those years when the Palm goes to a film that simply dies down. Wind That Shakes The Barley never really took after Cannes, nobody much has even seen it, it just disappeared, surprising after winning the big prize in world cinema. Conversely 4 Months and White Ribbon went to major international acclaim, awards and are very widely seen and admired films. I hope something of that sort turns up.

    I’m now thinking Of Gods And Men might be it or Uncle Boonmee.

  • 4 5-22-2010 at 3:07 pm

    maurier said...

    I’m simply shocked that critics gave their award to “On tour”. Everyone forgot about this movie by now and no one really liked it (except for French journalists of course). On the other hand, Fipresci jury makes strange choices from time to time and I hope that the official jury will be more lucid.

  • 5 5-22-2010 at 5:06 pm

    Sieben said...

    I do remember On Tour being generally liked, if never raved. A surprising choice indeed, although it’s always better when they reward a quirky genre choice than a highbrow message drama that nobody really cared for.

    I’m looking forward to the exquisitely named HaHaHa, too.

  • 6 5-22-2010 at 7:25 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Red Wine: The Godard never had a chance in hell of taking the award. It was included as a token gesture — he’s too established for the UCR prize.

    And “On Tour” is one of my four or five favourite competition films — admittedly from a lean selection — so I don’t have a problem with the choice.

  • 7 5-23-2010 at 10:06 pm

    The Hurt Rocker said...

    Hahaha is not a wispy romcom. I understand you don’t get it, it’s not an easy film, but that’s a bit of harsh.