Monday, May 26, 2014

How to win and lose at an international film festival

Cannes Film Festival Saudi Arabia Dhahran blog
Congratulations to director Nuri Bilge Ceylan! His film Winter Sleep just won the coveted Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. The Turkish filmmaker's work is about an Anatolian hotel owner and his relationships with those around him.


Sorry there's no trailer with English subtitles! Ceylan has made other award winning films before including 2002's Distant and 2011's Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, which were both winners of the festival's second place prize, the Grand Prix. He also won a directing prize for 2008's Three Monkeys.

This recent win for Turkey will help improve its track record at Cannes, as its last Palme d'Or was won in 1982 for Yilmaz Guney and Serif Goren’s The Way.

When accepting his prize, Ceylan dedicated Winter Sleep to his country's youth, including those who died in the past year in country wide protests. 

The film divided critics and audience members alike with its long running time and its dialogue rich scenes, but according to Variety it grabbed critics' attention when it screened at Cannes on the third day of the festival.

In other Cannes related news, Iranian actress Leila Hatami has apologized for kissing the festival's president on the cheek(!). Her greeting infuriated religious authorities back home in a second incident which has highlighted the stark divide between ordinary Iranians and the Islamic Republic. Hatami said that she viewed the 83 year old Gilles Jacob as a grandfather type figure, as well as her host. The actress is known for her film A Separation which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in 2012. She was in Cannes as a juror.

Leila Hatami controversy Cannes Film Festival Saudi Arabia blog
Uff, I mean come on Iran, you gotta learn to pick your battles. THIS IS NOT AN ISSUE. I get that she's representing her country and her religion, but if anything, she was being respectful to an elder as well as to another country's culture. Last time I checked respect was a really important virtue in Islam. She even tried to shake Gilles's hand before he went in for the typical French greeting and he has since apologized for his snafu. There is no need to punish her with a public flogging. Let's move on. We've all had to deal with an old man who isn't quite with the times.

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