Cannes Film Festival 2011

Cannes Film Festival 2011The 64th Cannes Film Festival (Festival de Cannes) runs from 11th – 22nd May 2011. Cannes: not your average seaside resort but a beautiful, trendy resort on the Cote d’Azur, France no less. The Cannes Film Festival: not your average local film festival, but one of the biggest and most prestigious showcases of the world’s best film-making.

Did you know that there are seven competitions involved in the Film Festival? The films shown include major blockbusters, foreign language films, directorial debuts and low-budget projects.

This year, and, for the first time in the history of the Cannes Film Festival, a special annual Honorary Palme d’Or will be given to the most important filmmaker who has never received a Palme d’Or. This year, the honour will go to acclaimed Italian director, Bernardo Bertolucci. Some of Bertolucci’s most famous films include ‘The Last Emperor’ and ‘Stealing Beauty’. He will receive his Honorary Palme d’Or during the Opening Ceremony on the 11 May 2011.

This year, the Cannes Film Festival will open with Woody Allen’s film ‘Midnight in Paris’. Other famous directors who will be showing their recent work during the festival include, Pedro Almodovar with his new film ‘La piel que habito’ (The Skin I Live In) and Lars Von Trier with his film ‘Melancholia’.

Most of the world’s attention turns to the films within the ‘In Competition’ event. This is the Festival’s main event where the most prestigious award, The Palme d’Or (Golden Palm) is given for the Best Picture. Last year’s Palme d’Or winner was for a film directed by Thai filmmaker, Apichatpong Weerasethakul for his film entitled ‘Lung Boonmee Raluek Chat’ (Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives).

Some of the biggest films have been the ones found in the ‘Out of Competition’ category. Films shown in this category generally do not fit into any other section of the festival and are typically special events or films that the Festival feels deserve the honour of being screened at Cannes. Woody Allen’s ‘Midnight in Paris’ is in this category as is a film by acclaimed American actress, Jodie Foster who has directed a film called ‘The Beaver’.

Foreign Language Films at Cannes

The Cannes Film Festival makes a distinct effort to recognise and award foreign language films to make them more accessible to the world’s viewing public. The President of the jury this year is none other than renowned American actor, Robert de Niro (‘The Godfather: Part 2’, ‘Raging Bull’, ‘Goodfellas’), American actress Uma Thurman (‘Kill Bill’, ‘Pulp Fiction’), and British actor, Jude Law (‘The Talented Mr Ripley’, ‘Sherlock Holmes’).

This year, the Official Selection comprises 20 foreign language films from various countries including France, Israel, Turkey and Australia.

There are also opportunities for new foreign films to make the headlines. The ‘Courts Metrages’ event features films from around the globe, while young directors can make their mark in the ‘Un Certain Regard’ competition. The ‘Cinefondation’ selection presents short and medium-length films that have been selected by the Festival from film schools around the world. La Quinzaine des Realisateurs (The Directors Fortnight) was created in 1968 during the strikes that closed down the festival that year. Its intention was to open up the Cannes Festival to unknown filmmakers and national cinemas. This section of the competitions usually has around 18 foreign films which include countries such as Iran, France, Spain and some Latin American countries. It has some of the best that the world cinema has to offer.

We will bring you a summary of the films awarded prizes after the closing ceremony on the 22nd May 2011.

Updated 23rd May 2011

The Palme d’Or was won this year by Terrence Malick for his film ‘The Tree of Life’. The publicity shy American director was not at the festival to pick up his award. The Grand Prix Ex-aequo was won jointly for ‘Le Gamin Au Velo’ directed by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne and the film ‘Bir Zamanlar Anadolu’Da’ (Once Upon A Time in Anatolia) directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan.

Learn a Language with a Foreign Language Film

Your next holiday abroad may be a few months away, but why not make good use of the evenings to build up your language skills with a foreign language movie and learn about the culture of the country you will be visiting. With a DVD, you can choose the language for the soundtrack and the language for the subtitles. Always check the DVD has the right region and language combination for your particular country and your particular player … especially when buying online.

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