Belgian film wins top Cannes honor

Sunday, May 22, 2005

CANNES, France -- The Belgian film "The Child," about a young petty crook suddenly faced with the responsibilities of fatherhood, won top honors Saturday at the Cannes Film Festival.

It was the second time a movie by sibling filmmakers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne won the prestigious Palme d'Or. Their teen drama "Rosetta" took the main Cannes prize six years ago.

The Dardenne brothers dedicated their award to the French journalist Florence Aubenas and her guide Hussein Hanoun, missing since their Jan. 5 kidnapping in Baghdad.

"Very humbly, with no pretentiousness whatsoever, maybe since the Cannes Film Festival is broadcast all over the world, it will be a little spark of news which will get through to them and maybe help them to go on hoping," said Jean-Pierre Dardenne. "And it will show their kidnappers too that we're just as obstinate as they are."

Like earlier films from the Dardennes, "The Child" deals with social issues involving Belgium's struggling poor.

The award was presented by Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman, who won Academy Awards in February for Clint Eastwood's boxing saga "Million Dollar Baby."

Receiving the second-place grand prize was U.S. director Jim Jarmusch's "Broken Flowers," a droll drama starring Bill Murray as an aging Don Juan in pursuit of the son he never knew he had.

"I'm honored to have my film presented along with yours," Jarmusch said. "I would really like to accept this on behalf of all the filmmakers who follow their heart and make films in their own vision."

Tommy Lee Jones was honored as best actor for "The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada," his feature-film directing debut in which he plays a Texas ranch hand who forces his best friend's killer (Barry Pepper) to dig up the body and haul it for reburial in Mexico. The film also won the screenplay award for Mexican writer Guillermo Arriaga.

The lineup of 21 films in the main competition did not produce any universally loathed turkeys like Vincent Gallo's "The Brown Bunny" two years ago, but it also did not offer any odds-on favorites that had audiences raving.

The consensus among Cannes crowds was that the main competition produced a solid but unremarkable crop of films.

The main attractions during the 12-day festival were two films that played outside the competition. "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith" was the festival's centerpiece. Woody Allen's "Match Point," a comic drama starring Scarlett Johansson, Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Emily Mortimer, proved to be his most crowd-pleasing film in years. Some critics said it would have been a key contender had it been in the competition.

The 58th edition of the world's most prestigious film festival wraps up today with encore screenings of the winners and runners-up.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: