Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

Cannes – let the guessing game commence

May 21, 2011

Phew. Eleven days gone and the end is in sight at the Cannes film festival.

No, this is not a bad a assignment to have as a journalist, and no, we aren’t complaining, but yes, the end of the busiest festival  many of us can remember is a relief.

2011 has had it all — good movies (I can’t tell you my personal choices — this is Reuters!), big stars, great parties, huge interest from the outside world and a big dose of controversy.

The moment we will all remember above all else is the shock expulsion of Danish director Lars Von Trier for his strange outburst during a press conference in which he joked about being a Nazi, a Hitler sympathiser and used the phrase “final solution” to boot.

People variously found it funny, ill-advised, embarrassing, naive or just downright offensive. Kirsten Dunst, the star of Von Trier’s latest movie “Melancholia”, visibly squirmed as the director dug himself into a deeper and deeper hole. In subsequent interviews the arch-provocateur expressed a mixture of regret and defiance, and many of the festival’s reporters and critics disagree with Cannes’ decision to expel him.

That aside, there has been a string of hotly-discussed films — Melancholia itself, Terrence Malick’s epic “The Tree of Life”, the wonderfully comic “Le Havre” and “The Artist”, the touching “The Kid With a Bike”, the stylish “Drive”, subtle “Once Upon a Time in Anatolia” and the radiant “The Source”.

All eight movies, and arguably two or three more, could win the top prize in Cannes when awards are handed out on Sunday evening, all for very different reasons.

Jury President Robert De Niro has a tough job on his hand with no single standout contender. An embarrassment of riches, which is, after all, better than no riches at all.

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