‘Take Shelter’ takes first award at Cannes

Posted by · 4:40 pm · May 19th, 2011

Nine days in, the Cannes Film Festival is winding down. Many of the US journos are flying home, and with Pedro Almodóvar’s “The Skin I Live In” having premiered this morning — review coming tomorrow — the superstar auteurs have all shown their hand. (That’s not to say Nuri Bilge Ceylan or Paolo Sorrentino can’t alter the shape of the festival, however.)

But with the drop in energy comes the scent of gold, as we prepare for the annual Cannes parlor game of loudly criticizing the jury’s decisions. We’re still three days away from the Competition awards — though Aki Kaurismäki’s broadly liked comedy “Le Havre” (which I frustratingly still haven’t seen after three attempts) has emerged as the sizeable Palme d’Or favorite, while I hear rumors that Olivier Assayas is the lone “Tree of Life” fan on the jury — but the trophy run began tonight with the winners of the Critics’ Week sidebar.

I haven’t seen as many of the 22 films selected for Critics’ Week this year as I’d hoped to, so it’s by sheer luck that I happened to catch the strand’s big victor. US director Jeff Nichols’ sophomore feature “Take Shelter,” already a critical favorite at Sundance, continued its run of good festival fortune by taking the Grand Prix from a jury headed by Korean auteur Lee Chang-dong, as well as the alternatively-juried SACD Prize.

I caught up with the film (a Sony Pictures Classics baby) yesterday and was markedly impressed: an encouraging expansion on the virtues of Nichols’ debut “Shotgun Stories,” it boasts a killer narrative hook and impressive performances by Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain (both making their second appearances of the festival for me). I’ll review it at greater length soon (and Anne and I discuss it briefly in tomorrow’s podcast), but here’s what I tweeted:

A special mention from the jury went to Australian serial-killer drama “Snowtown,” about which I’ve heard very loud buzz — I hope to catch it tomorrow. Meanwhile, another film I saw and enjoyed, Argentinian debut director Pablo Giorgelli’s gently romantic road movie “Las Acacias,” took a pair of prizes. (More on that one in a future roundup — can you tell yet how long my review backlog is?)

Full list of Critics’ Week winners here.

[Photo: Sony Pictures Classics]

→ 17 Comments Tags: , , , , , , , | Filed in: Daily

17 responses so far

  • 1 5-19-2011 at 4:52 pm

    Alex said...


    I saw the premiere of this film at Sundance and loved it. It’s good to see that it’s getting some recognition at Cannes.

    Do you think Michael Shannon has a shot at a Best Actor nomination for this?

  • 2 5-19-2011 at 5:02 pm

    Brock Landers said...

    Drive for the Palme.

  • 3 5-19-2011 at 5:09 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    You have my full support, Brock.

  • 4 5-19-2011 at 6:27 pm

    Chris said...

    something tells me The Artist is taking the Palme.

  • 5 5-19-2011 at 7:15 pm

    yer said...

    Do you have a source for Assayas being the only TTOL supporter? Wouldn’t surprise me given the quality of his films.

    I would love to see Kaurasmaki win the Palme. That man delivers nothing, but dead pan brilliance every time.

  • 6 5-19-2011 at 10:57 pm

    Wellington Sludge said...

    I saw SNOWTOWN a couple of nights back. Very good, but the critical reception it has received here is starting to make me believe that it will be a film more warmly embraced outside of Australia than within. Not sure why, though (maybe we’re not looking for another crime drama so soon on the heels of ANIMAL KINGDOM)

  • 7 5-20-2011 at 1:20 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Yer: I do have a source, and a credible (if not foolproof) one, but I obviously can’t name names.

  • 8 5-20-2011 at 5:10 am

    JCS said...

    Are we not forgetting the most important award of all: the Palm Dog?

    This year it was the mutt from ‘The Artist’, with the Jury Prize going to the canine in ‘Le Havre’.

    Who needs any other awards?

  • 9 5-20-2011 at 6:16 am

    key lime said...

    Guy, can you provide any insight into the actual deliberation process? Does the jury meet regularly throughout the fest to compare notes?

    Also, what’s the critical consensus on the UCR stand-out?

  • 10 5-20-2011 at 6:21 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Key Lime: Every report I’ve read from past jurors (I highly recommend William Goldman’s “Hype and Glory” for first-hand insight into the process) suggests they meet at regular intervals to discuss the most recent batch of titles screened.

    As for UCR, the film that has generated the most excitement is one I sadly haven’t seen: Mexico’s “Miss Bala.” Meanwhile, I was very keen on “Skoonheid,” while “Martha May Marcy Marlene” continued its excellent run of reviews from Sundance.

  • 11 5-20-2011 at 8:56 am

    key lime said...

    Thanks for the tip on the Goldman book!

  • 12 5-20-2011 at 8:45 pm

    Glenn said...

    Wellington, SNOWTOWN has been very well received in Australia. I hated it, but most think it’s great. :/

  • 13 5-20-2011 at 10:03 pm

    Sieben said...

    With Emir Kusturica as UCR jury president, I’m betting heavily on Miss Bala. It sounds like precisely his sort of film.

    Skoonheid, Guy? How intriguing – most of the feedback I heard on that one was negative. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on it, as I know you’re not one to be strictly biased in favour of all South African films. ;)

  • 14 5-20-2011 at 10:22 pm

    Wellington Sludge said...

    Glenn, the most prominent film critics in the country, David and Margaret, were lukewarm at best:


    And one of the more popular review websites here was similar:


    I’m not saying there aren’t some good reviews (EMPIRE AUSTRALIA gave it five stars), but generally, it’s not receiving the love that our last Cannes winner, SAMSON AND DELILAH, got.