This is one of the year’s best movies.
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Director Laurent Cantet accepts the Palme d'Or, surrounded by his cast.
For the first time in 21 years, a French film has taken the top prize at the Cannes film festival, and in a rarity for Cannes, the Palme d’Or was awarded unanimously. The prize could have easily been named “The Golden Apple” rather than the The Golden Palm since it went to “The Class” ("Entre Les Murs"), the Laurent Cantet film about a young teacher who tries to reach his class of primarily immigrant children in a school on the outskirts of Paris. Confronted with their apathy and sometimes outright hostility, he questions them in a Socratic fashion until they begin to ask themselves if perhaps an education might be relevant to them. This film moved me to tears and so of course I thought that, in the grand tradition of Cannes, it had no chance of winning the top prize.
Kyle and Alison Eastwood with their father Clint on a big night out in Cannes.
I've just returned from the official dinner given by the Festival for Clint Eastwood's movie. I felt like Cinderella at the ball. The dinner was held at the swanky Restaurant La Palme d'Or on the Croisette. I wore my long evening gown just like all the French women wear at night. That's usually the last thing you want to do after watching movies all day, and most of the American women journalists skip the gowns, but I am a hybrid this year, not quite journalist and not quite guest. Besides, this was a special evening and I wanted to make a good showing for you.
Clint Eastwood and Angelina Jolie in Cannes.
Postcard #1 Her new movie struck close to home for Angelina Jolie, visiting Cannes in an advanced stage of pregnancy. "Changeling" is based on the true story of a Los Angeles mother whose son disappears in 1928. Months later a young boy found in DeKalb, Illinois is returned as her son by the LAPD, which needs good press at a time of corruption. Problem is, she insists it's not her son, but the cops pressure her to raise the boy as her own. When she refuses, they have her held against her will. She and Brad Pitt were toasted by her director, Clint Eastwood, at a late-night dinner Tuesday at the beachfront Hotel Martinez, where Jolie said that being a mother "makes the film more personal, because I cannot imagine a mother not being trusted to know her own child."
Steven Spielberg, Harrison Ford and George Lucas bring "Indiana Jones" to Cannes. (AP photo)
The weather gods smiled on Steven Spielberg and George Lucas for their world premiere of “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.” Crowds gathered in the Riviera sun, some of them with signs pleading, “S’il vous plait, I NEED tickets for Indiana Jones!” There was a screening scheduled for 1 p.m., for both the press and the official invitation holders. In the past mixing the two has spelled disaster for a movie so highly anticipated; usually the screenings are separate, so the black tie crowd doesn't hear the possible snickers of the critics. Today I expected a crowd, so I got to the Palais des Festivals much earlier than usual, but to no avail. The guards told me it was complet!
Mike Tyson in James Toback's documentary.
CANNES, France -- Roger, when we talked about sending you messages from the film festival I never expected that my first would be about a heavyweight boxer. Mike Tyson's grip was surprisingly gentle when he shook my hand, and his voice soft and polite on stage, but there was nothing gentle, soft or polite about the images onscreen here in "Tyson," James Toback's documentary about his life. It is a compelling character study. His life is a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions.