Tree of Life won the Palme d’Or! Congrats to 2011 Cannes Film Festival Winners!

What an interesting journey Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life has been at the 64th Cannes Film Festival. Just a week ago, it was booed in its first screening (read the story on Entertainment Weekly), but today it’s won the top honors the Palme d’Or for Best Picture! This isn’t the first time he nabbed top honors from Cannes, he actually won a directing prize for Days of Heaven back in 1979.

Apparently Malick is notoriously press-shy and is often absent from film festivals or even film premieres. This time is no different, so producers Dede Gardner and Bill Pohlad were on hand to receive the awards. “Why isn’t he here? I’m not saying it’s an easy question to answer, but he personally is a very humble guy and a very shy guy,” Pohlad said after the awards ceremony (per Washington Post). “He just very sincerely wants the work to speak for itself.” Minnesota-native Pohlad was actually at the Twin Cities Film Festival (TCFF) last year to promote the CIA drama Fair Game which concluded the festival. I’ve mentioned in my coverage of the event that he was producing this epic drama under his production company Apparition.

Check out the trailer below if you haven’t already:

After reading the reviews from Cannes, I must say I’m even more intrigued by this film (it’s one of my most anticipated movies this year). I came across this ScreenDaily article while checking out those reviews and found out that Malick is a devout Christian (Episcopalian to be specific) and according to Martin Sheen’s Wiki page, had a big influence in restoring the actor’s faith while filming Badlands. I guess I’m not terribly surprised by that and it certainly makes me like him more. I kinda thought that Days of Heaven had some Biblical allegory in it as this article suggests, so I wonder if the reason for the boos at Cannes is that the audience aren’t keen on the deeply spiritual aspects of the film? I won’t be surprised if that’s the case, either.

Anyway, here are the other major winners at the festival (per Yahoo News), chosen by a jury headed by Robert De Niro:

  • Best Director: Nicolas Winding Refn for Drive
    I haven’t seen any of the Danish director’s work (still have to check out Valhalla Rising). His star is definitely on the rise and perhaps this movie will make him a household name? The story is certainly intriguing: A Hollywood stunt performer who moonlights as a wheelman discovers that a contract has been put on him after a heist gone wrong. It also has two super talented actors: Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan. Reportedly Gosling handpicked Refn to direct the movie.

  • Best Actor: Jean Dujardin, The Artist
    Awesome! I just put up the trailer last week and I must say Dujardin’s performance is a must-see. I hope this silent movie will find a decent audience here in the States.
  • Best Actress: Kirsten Dunst, Melancholia
    Happy for Kirsten but I don’t really care for the movie nor the filmmaker… as Castor reported last Thursday, Cannes’ organizers banned Melancholia‘s director Lars Von Trier from the festival for his remark about sympathizing with Hitler. I must say I’m glad they did, though I doubt he learned his lesson.

Big congrats to all the winners!

Well, what are your thoughts about the festival winners and specifically Tree of Life? Are you looking forward to seeing the film?