Cannes, Day 12: Judgment Day

The festival’s final two films screen, so it’s time to pick a winner

In today’s roundup of Cannes news ‘n’ notes from around the web, the festival’s final two films screen, so it’s time to pick a winner.

From the pipe dream file … Tatiana Monassa has created a petition to the Cannes jury, asking that they cancel this year’s awards to protest the arrest and continued detention of director Jafar Panahi by Iranian authorities. “We all understand that isolated complaints will not have the necessary impact to free him,” reads the background on the GoPetition website, “but maybe cancelling this year awards could drive enough media attention to the issue.” As of Saturday night, around 300 people have signed the petition. Clearly, cancellation of Sunday's awards ceremony is hardly an option – though if the jury wants to address the issue using the pulpit of the awards ceremony, it could help the chances of another Iranian filmmaker, Abbas Kiarostami, an outspoken supporter of Panahi whose “Certified Copy” is in competition. (GoPetition)

Inside JobThe indieWIRE poll of 19 Cannes critics and bloggers wraps up, and leaves an out-of-competition documentary atop the heap as the only film to receive an average grade of A. According to Peter Knegt’s rundown (which doesn’t quite match the list of grades in the site’s Cannes Guide), Charles Ferguson’s “Inside Job,” about the financial meltdown, gets the top mark, followed by the Thai film “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives,” the French miniseries “Carlos,” Derek Cianfrance’s Ryan Gosling/Michelle Williams drama “Blue Valentine,” and competitive entries “Certified Copy” and “Another Year.” Jean-Luc Godard’s divisive “Film Socialisme” makes the top 15, while Hideo Nakata’s “Chatroom” wins the dubious honor of being named indieWIRE’s worst film of the festival. (indieWIRE)

Meanwhile, Saturday brought screenings of the final two films in competition, and neither fared particularly well. The expensive Russian period piece “Burnt by the Sun 2” got a collective D+ grade from indieWIRE, making it the lowest-ranked of all competitive films, while “Tender Son: The Frankenstein Project” won a slightly more respectable C+. In other words: don’t look for them to crash the Palme d’Or race at the last minute. (indieWIRE)

BBC News looks into the history of the Palme d’Or, and charts the country of origin of the last 55 winners. It turns out that the United States is the undisputed champ, with 14 wins to eight for France and six for Italy. Then again, if you count co-productions among different countries, France has a share in 8 additional wins. If you limit it to the past decade, the U.S. is still in the lead, with two wins (“Fahrenheit 9/11” and “Elephant”) to one each for France, Denmark and Romania. But most of the last 10 winners are international co-productions, with lots of contributors: you’ve got Belgium and France; Italy and France; Germany, Austria, France and Italy; Poland, France, Germany and the UK; and the UK, Ireland, Italy, Germany and Spain. (BBC News)

Jeff Wells feels obligated to speculate about which film will win the Palme d’Or on Sunday – so he does what he usually does in these situations, and leads with his heart. Which is to say, he predicts, and in the process lobbies for, a victory for “Biutiful.” And then he takes a few more shots at the “dweebs” who he sees as trying to take the film down because they’re all about intellect and stuff and can’t handle strong emotion. He also gives “Another Year” and “Certified Copy” chances to win, though he leaves it to his readers to point out that the victor could very easily come from films he hasn’t mentioned, like “Of Gods and Men” or “Uncle Boonmee Recalls His Past Lives.” The latter seems to get the most support from prognosticating commenters. (Hollywood Elsewhere)

Mad Cow

Dennis Lim sits down with the face of the Cannes Film Festival poster, Juliette Binoche, and the Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami to talk about “Certified Copy,” one of the fest’s most well-received (at least in some circles) films. Binoche’s interview is presented in audio clips, Kiarostami’s in old-fashioned text. The director says the good thing about working with Binoche, after a career spent using mostly novices, is that “while she was extremely professional, she behaved like a nonprofessional.” To him, that’s good, because he says that professionals are always checking their BlackBerrys. (The New York Times)

One more glimpse from the dark underbelly of the festival: Anthony Breznican offers his favorite poster from the Cannes film market; apparently, it was hanging in the American Pavilion during the entire festival. The film is called “Mad Cow.” The tag line: “Part Man. Part Cow. Totally Crazy.” (An alternative poster, which Breznican doesn’t show, has the tagline, “While you’re out for lunch, lunch is out for revenge.”) And if that doesn’t make you want to see it, check out the film’s keywords from its Internet Movie Database page: “Flatulence. Zombie. Masturbation. Erection. Flatulence. Disembowelment. Chainsaw. Veggie Burger … ” (USA Today)