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Amy

Sometimes, it feels as if we are eavesdropping on day-to-day conversations rather than just hearing the usual litany of platitudes and regrets.

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Stray Dog

"Stray Dog" largely succeeds because Granik's technique complements her subject. Both he and the film are modest in their goals and cherish the value of…

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

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Chicago actress takes Cannes prize

CANNES, France -- The Cannes prize for Chicago actress Irma P. Hall was explained, sort of, at the jury's press conference Sunday. The jury gave its best actress award to Maggie Cheung for "Clean," and then broke with precedent by giving a special jury prize to Hall for her work in "The Ladykillers."

"She was a force of nature," said jury president Quentin Tarantino.

Hall, 66, who was Big Mama in "Soul Food," played a little old lady who does not get killed in the Coen Brothers' "The Ladykillers," a festival entry. Seriously injured in a car crash in January, she is undergoing rehabilitation treatments, with much moral support from her co-star, Tom Hanks.

"We were thinking of just going ahead and titling the prize the Force of Nature Award," said actress Tilda Swinton, a jury member.

"I left my wallet in El Segundo!" Tarantino declared, in a passable Irma P. Hall imitation.

"He's been talking in her voice for the last three days," said Swinton.

Roger Ebert

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