Charlotte Gainsbourg may have won the Best Actress prize at Cannes ’09 for her harrowing portrayal of a mother gone almost suicidal after losing her child (and then batshit nuts, or possessed later on depending on your POV) in Lars Von Trier’s controversial and polarizing picture, “Antichrist” (we which we had mixed feelings about; neither a masterpiece or disaster), but the Ecumenical Jury at the Croisette was less kind to the film.
This jury which honors films with “spiritual value’ (though note it was originally started by Christian filmmakers) is one of three juries at the Cannes and they gave their top award to Ken Loach’s life-lessons football dramedy, “Looking For Eric,” starring real-life French football star Eric Cantona as himself (a film we truly enjoyed as well).
This jury loathed “Antichrist” so much — it features repellent, close-up genital mutilation shots near the end — that they awarded it a special, “anti-prize” caling it, “the most misogynist movie from the self-proclaimed biggest director in the world.”
It’s true “Antichrist” is very misogynist, but that’s, for better or worse, the button-pushing point that Trier tries to provoke you with (or at least part of it). Perhaps his hubristic (though probably comical) boast, pissed them off even more. Perhaps they should lighten up though (hey, at least they didn’t award the boring, rise-of-Christianity film, “Agora” starring Rachel Weisz).
Cannes festival director Thierry Fremaux was outraged by the razzie-like award. He said it was “ridiculous decision that borders on a call for censorship, (it is) scandalous coming from an ‘ecumenical’ jury which what is more is headed by a film-maker.”
Meanwhile, the FIPRESCI jury, a body of international critics, honored Corneliu Porumboiu’s “Police, Adjective” and Cherien Dabis’ “Amreeka.” “Police, Adjective” also won the top jury prize for the film in the Un Certain Regard section. Damn, another film we missed. [ScreenDaily]