Though perceived as the front runner for the 2007 Palme d’Or headed into today’s Cannes Film Festival awards ceremony, The Coen Brothers’ No Country for Old Men was clothes-hangered by Cristian Mungiu’s rapturously received abortion drama 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days. Terminating the Coens’ hopes was festival president Stephen Frears, backed up by his fellow jurors Sarah Polley, Maria de Medeiros, Maggie Cheung, Michel Piccoli, Toni Collette, Marco Bellocchio, CHUD fave Orhan Pamuk and the onerously monikered Abderramane Sissako.
This is hardly a shock; the Coens won the Palme d’Or for Barton Fink in 1991, while Joel has left the Riviera with three Best Director prizes (for Fink, Fargo and The Man Who Wasn’t There). What is surprising, however, is that the jury didn’t compensate the popular film with a Best Actor award or, perhaps, a Camera d’Or (which, respectively, went to Constantine Lavroneko for Izgnanie and Etgar Keret and Shira Geffen for Meduzot). It’s rare for a film this well-liked to go home completely empty handed, but it’s also entirely possible that Frears and company just didn’t share the critics’ enthusiasm for the Coens’ picture. There were a lot of chicks on that jury.
Meanwhile, Japanese filmmaker Naomi Kawase won the runner-up Grand Prix for The Mourning Forest, the rollicking tale of a retirement home employee getting lost in the woods with one of her patients (this was Kawase’s fourth trip to Cannes). The Best Director prize went to Julian Schnabel for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, which tells the story of Elle France editor Jean-Dominique Bauby, who, after suffering a massive stroke, dictated his memoirs via the muscle still under his control: his left eyelid. And Gus Van Sant won the 60th Anniversary Prize – which essentially amounts to third place – for Paranoid Park.
Rounding out the major awards, Jeon Do-yeon was named Best Actress for Lee Chang-dong’s Secret Sunshine, while the Prix du Jury was split between Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis and Carlos Reygadas’s Silent Light.
IndiWIRE has the complete list of winners here. The jury should be giving a press conference shortly.