Cannes 2018

Directors’ Fortnight Awards: Climax and Comedy

On Film / The Daily — May 17, 2018

Polarizing Argentine filmmaker Gaspar Noé has thrilled critics more than he dared hope with his latest, Climax. Fueled by a throbbing soundtrack of 1990s dance hits and swirling camera moves, the enthusiastically received film follows a dance troupe’s party that becomes a nightmare after someone spikes the sangria with something a lot stronger than alcohol.

Now Climax has won the top award at this year’s Quinzaine des Réalisateurs, or Directors' Fortnight. The fiftieth anniversary edition of the independent program will carry on through Saturday, but the closing ceremony took place tonight. The Fortnight was founded in 1969 in response to the cancellation of the Cannes Film Festival the previous year, and it’s premiered early work by such filmmakers as Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Nagisa Oshima, Martin Scorsese, Jim Jarmusch, Michael Haneke, Spike Lee, and Sofia Coppola. The Fortnight has no jury and presents no awards itself, but four affiliated entities do, and the Art Cinema Award, presented by the Confédération Internationale des Cinémas d’Art et d’Essai, is considered the program’s top award. “Cannes is Cannes, and I’m very happy to be in the Directors’ Fortnight,” Noé tells Variety’s Ramin Setoodeh. “It’s a different kind of energy. People don’t need to buy tuxedos to see [the films].”

This year’s SACD Prize from the French Writers and Directors Guild goes to Pierre Salvadori’s The Trouble With You, a comedy starring Adèle Haenel as a young mother who discovers that her late husband, a police chief and local hero, was actually in on an insurance scam that’s sent an innocent man to prison. Her mission to right the wrong “is carried by a diabolically well-thought-out plot and a joyful yet precise mise-en-scène,” finds Bénédicte Prot at Cineuropa. More from Tim Grierson (Screen) and David Rooney (Hollywood Reporter).

Gianni Zanasi’s Lucia’s Grace has won the Europa Cinemas Label Award, presented to a European feature. Another comedy about a single mother, the film stars Alba Rohrwacher as a land surveyor who must decide whether or not to report that a building project, which holds out the promise of jobs to her local community, is environmentally unsound. Even with the Virgin Mary dropping now and then into Lucia’s life, Zanasi keeps this “pleasing, good-looking diversion” from tipping over into whimsy, finds Screen’s Allan Hunter.

The illy Prize for best short film goes to Patrick Bresnan and Ivete Lucas’s Skip Day, a documentary about high-school seniors in Florida celebrating their graduation on the beach.

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