May 23rd, 2010
03:15 PM ET

Thai film grabs top prize at Cannes

The top prize at this year's Cannes Film festival in France - the Palme d'Or - was awarded to Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul for his film, "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives."

The film, which took three years to make, tells the story of a dying man who engages in a conversation with an apparition of his late wife and his son who has reappeared in the form of a red-eyed monkey.

The runner up prize - or Grand Prix - went to French filmmaker Xavier Beauvois' "Of Gods and Men," a drama about a group of French monks confronted by terrorists in Northern Africa.

In an unforeseen twist to the evening, Tim Burton's jury named both Javier Bardem and Elio Germano best male performer for their roles in "Biutiful" and "Our Life," respectively.

French star Juliette Binoche was crowned best actress for her performance in Iranian Abbas Kiarostami's "Certified Copy," and appealed for the release of Iran's Jafar Panahi by holding up a sign with the director's name.

Korean Lee Chang-Dong, director of "Poetry," was awarded the prize for best screenplay for his story of an elderly woman challenged to write a poem for the first time in her life.

The prize for best director went to France's Mathieu Amalric for "Tournee," about a former TV producer who tours France with an eccentric group of New Burlesque performers.

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Filed under: France • Showbiz
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. redneck

    No Bollywood movie? Too bad.

    May 23, 2010 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • felix sabiniano

      go to india so many sing and dance there nyahahahahaha you are funny man. nice sense of humor

      May 23, 2010 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Hipster

    Glad to see there is still an appreciation for cinema that's not about time-traveling hot tubs. God, the average American is an idiot.

    May 23, 2010 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • overhaul38

      Don't be so hard on yourself. I'm sure you have one or two redeeming qualities.

      May 23, 2010 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • TexanAmerican

      Don't call on us "idiots" if your country needs any help. And you will.

      May 23, 2010 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hipster

      I AM American. Idiot.

      May 23, 2010 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      this is why hipsters suck

      May 23, 2010 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ricky

      I agree, so does the Movie Industry here in the U.S.

      May 23, 2010 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ricky

      Hipster, a large part of Tim Burton's work is heavily influenced by the work of Czech surreal film-maker Jan Svankmajer. His work is amazing. Burton has said many times of being a big fan.

      May 23, 2010 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      The average American idiot is light years ahead of any other country's average idiot.....You included.

      May 23, 2010 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hipster

      Thank you Ricky, I was aware though, am a big Svankmajer fan myself.

      May 24, 2010 at 12:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      Hipster, by insulting the "Average American," you seem to be implying that you're better than one. However, I don't see that putting down any group of people is requisite to enjoying a movie, or to talking about one. Is snobbery one of the qualities that defines a superior person?

      May 24, 2010 at 7:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Dean

      I think Americans are fine. It is the movie industry and critics that are idiots and out of touch. I mean...a remake of "The A Team" for goodness sakes....I liked the series, but let it die...

      May 24, 2010 at 7:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Trolleyfish

      Right, Hipster already knows what you wish to share and yes, he is better than you.

      May 24, 2010 at 8:08 am | Report abuse |
  3. Stan

    Talk about a choice between two extremes, I hope people are still intelligent enough to realize the fact that these charlatans at the festival are no different from the profit driven hollywood quacks. Stupid big budget hollywood movies become box office hits, hence in order to find relevance these so-called professional film critics (whose jobs no longer matter) award top prices to movies shot with hand held cameras and starring 4 people living in a basement, and then call it PURE ART expecting the rest of us to swallow it.

    Fact is, these days profit drives movies because we all have gotten dumber, these are the same critics who pay $15 to go watch stupid big budget movies with their girlfriends or family for entertainment, but then pan the same movie when they get on their computers. Yes those big budget movies suck but apparently people can't resist going to watch them.

    May 23, 2010 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hipster

      Yes, Tim Burton is widely known for his cunning and insightful film criticism.

      The US State Dept. recognizes 194 countries in the world and guess what? They make films sometimes. Usually with a little more conviction than Brett Ratner.

      And trust me, if you actually went out and saw a film by Apichatpong Weerasethakul you would know that they are very well-shot and superbly acted.

      But go spend your money on candy, fast food and junk films by all means.

      FYI: Critics don't generally pay for any film.

      May 23, 2010 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  4. brain2brain

    Probably great movies and of course Binoche is great.

    May 23, 2010 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. MikeyV

    Criticizing the critics is fun, heh? Makes you feel like you're better than them? Also, calling a nation of diverse people 'idiots' makes you smarter than them, heh? And if it's your own nation then you'll soar to the upper echelon, I mean why would someone insult his own people? All readers from all cultures and backgrounds know that a society that openly recognizes its own flaws is superior, am I right Tehran? The truth to the matter is, large casts and crew who have devoted their entire livelihoods in diversions are going to, on average, produce a feature that is more entertaining than that of a random group of non-professionals with a camcorder and a story, or for some countries, propaganda and cultural virtues. Get in touch with reality people. Au contraire to what the French want you to believe, Anglo/American Hollywood is the envy of the world and the exception is just that, an exception.

    May 23, 2010 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
  6. BC659

    I think Bollywood films are terribly overrated. I am probably the only one in the world who HATED "Slumdog Millionaire." Once the kid fell into the crap, dug himself out and ran up to the movie star with the s–t-covered photo for him to sign (LIKE ANYONE IN THE REAL WORLD WOULD), I sat there hoping the film would get better.

    May 23, 2010 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |

      And the movie never did!

      May 23, 2010 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hipster

      Oh honey,

      Slumdog Millionaire was in no way any shape or form a Bollywood production. It was directed by Danny Boyle and co-financed by a FOX(!) subsidiary.

      Better luck at life tomorrow!

      May 23, 2010 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      I thought the excrement covered boy got the autograph of a football (soccer) player? One of us wasn't paying enough attention but I liked the movie no matter the credits.

      May 24, 2010 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
    • KSingh81

      No genius, it was the autograph of the biggest bollywood star at the time

      May 24, 2010 at 7:59 am | Report abuse |
    • KSingh81

      Oh yeah and Slumdog was not even a Bollywood movie...even the crappy Bollywood films are better than

      May 24, 2010 at 8:00 am | Report abuse |
  7. Philip

    All those comments make me thirsty.

    May 23, 2010 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Donnelly

    I'm sorry, but I can't take any jury seriously that has Tim Burton at the helm.

    And foreign or domestic, about 90% of the films released since the beginning of the silver screen are garbage. So if you are one of the morons out there who think that we are getting stupider, go back and watch some films from the 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's, etc. From ANY country. There will always be the "mindless" entertainment that we go out in droves to, and the other 10% of great films that very few people see.

    You have to look with honest eyes instead of the knee-jerk reaction that all Hollywood big-budget films suck. It's just NOT TRUE.

    May 23, 2010 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Nina

    This is very good news for Thais !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 23, 2010 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • iLThai

      Yeah, it is only good news for last 2 months since protest started.
      Thank you to director – Khun Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

      May 24, 2010 at 12:56 am | Report abuse |
  10. Chad

    One of the best movies I've seen in recent years ("The Love of Siam") came out of Thailand, so this award isn't too shocking to me. I live near Thailand now (although I'm American) and have been there numerous times. Thais have a rich cultural heritage, and I wish I had a greater understanding of it.

    May 23, 2010 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • deTi

      Thank you for enjoying my beloved country.

      May 23, 2010 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
  11. JEV1A

    "A Film should NEVER be judged a success based soley on Box Office receipts! The quality of Film in all its respects need to be determined by a completely neutral Jury in ths case led up by USA based Director, Tim Burton. Its a great day for the Film-Arts in Thailand for sure!

    May 23, 2010 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jeff

    Brought to you by the same people who harbor and support convicted child molesters.

    May 23, 2010 at 11:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hipster

      Sorry the Catholic Church really didn't have much to do with this.

      May 24, 2010 at 12:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Alboy301

      Jeff, are you speaking from experience? Or perhaps you're just an ignorant retard.

      May 24, 2010 at 4:10 am | Report abuse |
  13. Alan

    To Film Fans Everywhere!!!!!!!
    Did you know that Apichatpongs last film, "Syndromes and a Century" has never been shown in Thailand? It is never likely to be as well!

    Thailand's creative media works under one of the most repressive and draconian government control systems.

    Apichatapong recently spoke out about the restrictions, and has a web site called "Kick the Machine" where people can register against Thai Film Censorship.

    Of course we would say that any free and democratic country should never be afraid of looking at itself through Film and TV, but the Thai government certainly seems to be. Many have said that this very lack of discussion and openness "supports" and "aided" the recent UDD, Red Shirts violence and saying that the government is manipulating the image and information coming out of Thailand, giving a false picture of what is really going on.

    Reporters without Borders had a recent headline, "Is Thailand a new enemy of the Internet?". In part it mentions that 2 million Euros has been earmarked by the Thai Ministry of Information and communications Information for web filtration. As of July 09, 16,944 URLs were blocked.

    This simply highlights the governments pressure and control on the creative soul of Thailand.

    Oh, and that 1956 classic musical "The King and I" has never been shown here, along with the 1999 remake "Anna and the King".

    May 24, 2010 at 12:57 am | Report abuse |
  14. shineneh

    Yeah!!! Thailand again. I love this Country. They have the beautiful beaches, delicious foods and now Best Films.

    May 24, 2010 at 1:28 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jesse

    Most 'professional movie critics' have an aged sense of humor. "Hot Tub Time Machine" was actually fairly funny. People take movies too seriously these days.

    May 24, 2010 at 2:15 am | Report abuse |
    • rachbell

      Not really. If a movie is a serious movie, then it should be taken seriously. If it's stupid, then it should be declared stupid. If it's genuinely funny, then it should be enjoyed. Serious films tell wonderful stories, sometimes happy or sad, educate, and evoke emotion. We're fortunate to have such a gamut of films being made; something for everyone, from all over the world.

      May 24, 2010 at 7:49 am | Report abuse |
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