"KIDMAN PEES ON EFRON!" lacks the historic heft of "GARBO TALKS!", but that's one of the contextually apt things that happens in Precious director Lee Daniels's florid 1969-set The Paperboy. Like all of the America-set films in competition at Cannes this year — Moonrise Kingdom, Lawless, Killing Them Softly, On The Road, Cosmopolis, Mud — it won no prizes. The Cannes jury was unapologetic about that.
On May 27, they crowned Austrian Michael Haneke's French-language Amour with the Palme d'Or, making him a member of the small club of directors who own two. Masterful. Wrenching. The blurb words all apply to this exquisitely acted portrait of the title commodity vs. the inevitable.
Italy's Matteo Garrone won the Grand Prix for Reality, in which a Naples fish seller becomes irrationally convinced that he'll be picked for Big Brother.
Carlos Reygadas of Mexico won Best Director for Post Tenebras Lux, a scattershot crazy quilt with at least two images no viewer will ever forget.
Cannes regular Ken Loach won the Jury Prize for The Angels' Share, a rock-solid social comedy about young Scottish ex-cons making their own luck in the arena of whisky distilling. It's delightful.
Beyond the Hills won the screenplay award for director Christian Mungiu and Best Actress for its two leads, both making their screen debut. Based on a true 2005 event in Romania, it depicts the well-meaning but horribly misguided efforts of a small group of nuns to evict evil.
Versatile Dane Mads Mikkelsen, who is in nearly every frame of Thomas Vinterberg's The Hunt, nabbed Best Actor for his superb portrayal of a kind man wrongly accused of child abuse.
The Camera d'Or for the best first film in any section of the festival (25 contenders) went to Sundance favorite Beasts of the Southern Wild by Yank, Benh Zeitlin. Consider America's honor vindicated.