Special Report: Cannes Film Festival 2006

By Moira Sullivan
Movie Magazine International
The Wind That Shakes the Barley by UK director Ken Loach received the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival which ran May 17-28 (2006). This film is about the Irish struggle for independence led by the IRA against the British Black and Tan soldiers in the early 1920s. According to Loach upon accepting his award, he hopes the film will help "the British confront their imperialist history". It can also be seen as an allegory for the current military situation in Iraq. The Cannes selection skillfully blends art with politics about the complexities of today's issues on screen. Loach is one of Europe's leading auteur and the award was well deserved. His films are frequently selected to Cannes, and the jury decision to award the film the Palme d'Or was unanimous since the first time they saw the film early in the week.

Andrea Arnold, the UK director acclaimed for her innovative Oscar winning short Wasp, won a special prize for The Red Road, a film about a woman who works for the Glasgow council closed circuit television and one day notices a man from her past. The Red Road is the first of three films in a dogme like conception called Advance Party. The other segments are scheduled to be directed by two other helmers -Morag McKinnon and Mikkel Norgaard who will be using the same characters - all set in Scotland.

Pedro Almodovar won the best screenplay award for Volver - a film about a woman who returns to her town after her death to tie up some loose ends. The Spanish director is claimed to have revitalized cinema in Spain after Franco primarily with gender benders. The ensemble cast of the film won the best actress award:including Penelope Cruz, Carmen Maura.

Another film that was expected to win some kind of award went home empty handed Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette. The main criticism against the film was that she left out the French Revolution. But she never said that was what her aim, nor was it her intention to show the execution of Antoinette. That exclusion may make it "petit bourgeois" for some French reviewers, but, Marie Antoinette is a ground-breaking film with a film score that includes teen rock hits. Since its Cannes debut, according to surveys, it is the film that most viewers want to see.
More Information:
Cannes Film Festival 2006