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Culture

Varied crop of films await Cannes awards

media Cannes jury president Tim Burton with actress Isabelle Huppert Reuters

Sunday is the big day at the 63rd annual Cannes Film Festival, with the prestigious Palm awards handed out in the evening. Critics have been saying that this year’s crop of films is not likely to go down in cinema history, and the people press have complained there were not enough glitzy megastars walking up the red carpet. And yet, the jury has its job to do: to give out the same number of awards as usual.

Everything is relative.

Last year there were more films from recognised big names in the official selection. This year, it’s more of a mixture, ranging from Cannes regulars whose work has already been rewarded, to the Ukrainian Sergei Loznitsa who in competition with his first feature film, My Joy, which definitely packs a punch.

There are nineteen films in competition, more than half of which are from either Europe or Asia, though geographical origin is not the main criteria for the prizes.

The films that being talked about as potential prize-winners are Mike Leigh’s Another Year, Poetry by Korean Lee Chang-dong, Loznitsa’s film, and Mexican Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu’s Biutiful, whose leading male role played by Javier Bardem has received a lot of unofficial praise.

Many of the films are bleak, expressing human isolation, misunderstanding or selfishness. Many touch on corruption, conflict or petty ambition.

But while there’s more than a fair dose of suffering - or causing suffering - some films, by virtue of cinematographic wizardry or artistic sensitivity, raise the audience’s spirits.

The nine-member jury, chaired by US filmmaker, Tim Burton, is as varied as the films, at least in age and background. There is music composer Alexandre Desplat, Italian Turin Cinema Institute director Barbera, English actress Kate Beckinsale, Indian director Shekar Kapur and US actor, Benicio Del Toro.

 
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