Cannes Report Day 11: ‘La Jauria’ Takes Critics Week’s Grand Prize

Plus, “War Pony” Wins Palm Dog Award, Magnolia Takes U.S. rights on “King’s Land”

la jauria

As the Cannes Film Festival begins to wind down to its finale on Saturday night, “La Jauria” from Colombian director Andres Ramirez Pulido took the Grand Prize at Critics’ Week, the festival’s sidebar focused on first and second feature films.

“La Jauria” centers on Eliú, a country boy, who is incarcerated́ in an experimental minors’ center in the heart of the Colombian tropical forest, for a crime he committed with his friend El Mono. Every day, the teenagers perform strenuous manual labour and intense group therapy. One day, El Mono is transferred to the same center and brings with him a past that Eliú is trying to get away from.

The film, which comes from Colombia, also took the the SACD prize.

“War Pony” wins Palm Dog Award

Brit the Silver Poodle, who stars in Riley Keough and Gina Gammell’s indigenous drama “War Pony,” took home the coveted Palm Dog collar, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The Palm Collar is awarded to the best performance by a canine or group of canines during the festival. The award consists of a leather dog collar with the term “PALM DOG.”

Steve Pond, in his review of “War Pony” wrote, “Set on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota and co-written, co-produced and starring members of the Native American community, “War Pony” is unhurried, naturalistic and heartbreaking, taking its rhythms from the lives of characters in a situation where the lack of options can lead to desperation or to resignation. The movie sometimes feels as aimless as moments in the lives of the characters it depicts, but that helps give it the intimacy of a story told from the inside, not the outside.”

Magnolia Takes U.S. Domestic Rights to Period Epic “King’s Land”

Magnolia Pictures has acquired domestic U.S. rights to an epic period drama called “King’s Land” starring Mads Mikkelsen.

The film reunites Mikkelsen with his “A Royal Affair” director Nikolaj Arcel who is directing “King’s Land” and co-writing the project with Danish screenwriter Anders Thomas Jensen (“Riders of Justice”) and is based on the Danish bestseller “The Captain and Ann Barbara” from 2020. Mikkelsen will be joined in the cast by Amanda Collin, who stars in Ridley Scott’s HBO Max drama series “Raised By Wolves” and 2017’s “A Horrible Woman.”

Arcel’s screen adaptation will be a drama about the conquest of the Danish heath and is the story of a proud and uncompromising man and the woman who becomes his ally in the fight against evil, death and perdition. 

Reviews From Day 11: “Broker,” dir. Hirokazu Kore-eda (Main Competition) – by Ben Croll

The Palme d’Or can be a blessing and curse, a gold-plated sword of Damocles hanging over the heads of filmmakers lucky enough to claim it. After the first waves of shock and joy recede, and their subsequent year-long victory lap reaches the finish line, those same filmmakers are left alone with one troubling thought: What’s next? 

Director Hirokazu Kore-eda offers a fine case study in how that question might trip someone up. In so many ways, his win for 2018’s “Shoplifters” showed the system working as intended. Kore-eda had been to Cannes many times before; he directed a mature work that built on and streamlined earlier themes; he led viewers on a twisty road that led to a strong emotional payoff. He earned it. 

If the coronation opened new doors for the Japanese director, it brought fewer new ideas. After his fine, if-none-too-memorable follow-up “The Truth” transplanted his model to a French setting, this year’s Cannes competition title “Broker” pairs Kore-eda with some of South Korea’s best-known stars. The film also finds him on repeat, earning little more than a participation trophy for another fine, if-none-too-memorable Kore-eda joint that works all the same ground but in a different language.

Close,” dir. Lukas Dhont (Main Competition) – by Ben Croll

Leo (Eden Dambrine) and Remi (Gustav De Waele) are more than just friends and not at all lovers. At only 13 years of age, they’re too young for that – and what’s more, their bond transcends simple labels. First seen running through the lush meadows of rural Belgium, the duo share a complicity that is as natural and abundant as the late summer harvest. Nothing that pure could ever hope to last.

“Close,” which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on Thursday, sees Belgium filmmaker Lukas Dhont  (whose previous film, “Girl,” took home the Camera d’Or for best first feature in 2018) make his competition debut at age 31. A relative whippersnapper in this year’s (and most years without Xavier Dolan) Palme d’Or campaign, the rising Belgian filmmaker more than holds his own. If his film’s relatively modest scope and elementally simple structure could keep the festival’s highest honor just out of reach, it will probably not go home empty-handed. 

Enjoying a kind of prelapsarian amity in each other’s homes, neighbors Remi and Leo have a life-defining friendship. Passionate about one another, equally interested in the other’s pursuits, they share an easy (emotional) intimacy, and are unafraid to show (chaste) affection. Think of a Belgian Tom and Huck and you wouldn’t be far off. What changes, of course, and what comes between this elemental friendship, is the rest of the world. Returning to school after a carefree summer, the boys can’t quite respond to a new classmate’s simple (and, it’s worth noting, seemingly non-judgmental) question, “Are you together?”

Showing Up,” dir. Kelly Reichardt (Main Competition) – by Fran Hoepfner

In “Showing Up,” Michelle Williams stars as Lizzy, a Portland-based sculptor for whom little seems to go right in the week leading up to a big solo show. Kelly Reichardt’s latest film takes us to modern-day Portland for a playful comedy about the realities of visual artists.

As Lizzy, Williams is frazzled and grumpy, stern and flustered. She meets compliments with a downcast gaze, doubtful, perhaps, that she’s worthy of them. She lives alone with a very good bad cat, working on figurines of young women, while her colleagues drink and hang out during their off-hours.

As a day job, she works at an arts college she once attended as an assistant to her mother (Maryann Plunkett, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”), who she must ask for days off to work on her art, while her father (the great Judd Hirsch) entertains guests he barely knows. Her brother Sean (John Magaro, “First Cow”) lives a sheltered life on his own, occasionally the source of family worry and tension, as only Lizzy takes it upon herself to be his (necessary or not) caretaker.