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Saturday, May 21, 2005

CANNES AMERICAN WINNERS JARMUSCH, JONES AND JULY

American filmmaker Jim Jarmusch and actor turn director Tommy Lee Jones walked down the carpet with top awards at the 2005 Cannes Festival du Cinema. Jarmusch won the festivals Grand Prix for BROKEN FLOWERS while Jones' film collected two awards: the Prix du Scenario (Best Screenplay) and Prix d'interpretation masculine (Best Actor) for THE THREE BURIALS OF MELQUIADES ESTRADA. First-time filmmaker Miranda July won the Camera d'Or award.

The Grand Prix award is generally considered to be runner-up to the festivals coveted top honor Palme d'Or that was won this year by the Belgium brother filmmaking team of Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne for their film L'ENFANT. A Prix du Jury (Jury Prize) went to Wang Xiaoshuai for SHANGHAI DREAMS and the directors top prize Prix de la Mise en Scene went to German born director Michael Haneke for French production of CACHE that uses the English title HIDDEN.

Jone's THREE BURIALS resides in a West Texas border town and centers on Pete Perkins (played by Jones) whose best friend Melquiades, a "wet-back" is discovered dead in the desert. The body is quickly buried and the local police have no intention of investigating the death. Perkins decides to investigate the murder himself and provide his friend with a proper burial. A classic lesson in film westerns, primative authority assigned the task of investiagting its own crimes has contemporary poignancy not lost Cannes patrons and jury. Scripted by Guillermo Arriaga, who also wrote the screenplay 21 GRAMS in 2003, the writer explained about West Texas, "I wanted to understand how things are the same, and how they're different, how they're in and out of human control, what ironies might exist there, what injustices, what glory, beauty and redemption you can find in this area that has its own character..."

The much acclaimed Camera d'Or, that launched Jarmusch's career at Cannes in 1984, was shared by first-time feature filmmaker Sri Lankan Vimukthi Jayasundara for SULANGA ENU PINISA (THE FORSAKEN LAND) and American Miranda July for ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW.

The Portland, Oregon filmmaker and performance artist, July was picked as a top young filmmaker to watch in 2004 by FILMMAKER magazine. Before ME AND YOU won top awards at Sundance, July could be seen in the galleries of MoMA, Walker Art Center and the Whitney Biennial for her performance art. Miranda July also lead the cast of ME AND YOU as Christine Jesperson and is featured on the cover of that magazine's Spring 2005 issue.

In a statement issued by Festival de Cannes, July commented after receiving Camera d'Or, "Getting an award like this for your first film is like having someone tell you, "You're doing fine, you can keep it up."

CANNES 2005 PRIZE WINNERS

:: Palme d'Or ::

L'ENFANT (Child) directed by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne

:: Grand Prix ::

BROKEN FLOWERS directed by Jim Jarmusch

:: Prix de la Mise en Scene (Best Director) ::

Michael Haneke for CACHE (Hidden)

:: Prix du Scenario (Best Screenplay Award) ::

Guillermo Arriaga for THE THREE BURIALS OF MELQUIADES ESTRADA

:: Camera d'Or (Best First Feature) ::

Vimukthi Jayasundara for SULANGA ENU PINISA (The Forsaken Land) shared with:

Miranda July for ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW

:: Prix du Jury (Jury Prize) ::

SHANGHAI DREAMS directed by Wang Xiaoshuai

:: Prix d'interpretation feminine (Best Actress) ::

Hanna Laslo for FREE ZONE

:: Prix d'interpretation masculine (Best Actor) ::

Tommy Lee Jones for THE THREE BURIALS OF MELQUIADES ESTRADA

:: Court-Metrage Palme d'Or (Short Film) ::

PODOROZHINI (Wayfarers) directed by Igor Strembitskyy

:: Prix Du Jury ::

CLARA directed by Van Sowerwine

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