Cannes Film Festival 2011 Roundup: Lars Von Trier, Reviews, And Jafar Panahi

Cannes usually manages to captivate the film community, but this year’s festival had its fair share of both hype and controversy.

I was lucky enough to attend this year’s Cannes Film Festival thanks to Gordon And The Whale, and it being my first year on the Croisette, it was both an intimidating and enlightening experience.   However, there were a few stories that became the talk of the fest, spearheaded by shock auteur, Lars von Trier.

With his film, Melancholia, playing In Competition, the director spoke at the festival’s press conference for the film, and stated, amongst many other things, that he sympathized with Hitler, joked about being a Nazi, and even called Israel a ‘pain in the ass.’ Yeah, to say that the festival was a bit angry, is an understatement.   The filmmaker later went on to become banned by the film festival, but also ultimately found his film receiving one award for Kirsten Dunst, who won Best Actress for the film.   Melancholia is arguably the auteur’s most personal film to date, and is easily his best film since Dancer In The Dark.   It’s a brutally beautiful feature film, and one that I still to this day, cannot get the hell out of my head.   My fellow writer, Chase Whale, was equally impressed.

A director whose controversy came pre-festival, Jafar Panahi, also had a film premiere at the festival.   The director saw the debut of his film, This Is Not A Film, and while buzz has been ecstatic behind the film it is the story of how it made it to Cannes that is the real story.   Found on a USB stick stuck inside a cake sent from Iran to Paris, the film was literally smuggled into the country, which had been the location of the premiere of the director’s debut, THE WHITE BALLOON, some 16 years ago.   While I was unable to attend the screening of the film, this is one feature that shouldn’t have too much of a difficult time finding a release stateside.   At least one can hope.

Finally, for those interested in reading a few more thoughts as to what played at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, head over to Gordon And The Whale for full coverage.

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