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Cannes of worms

You can't title a film "Antichrist" and not expect to get a few extra blog postings from me. And some awards from the jaded cinephiles at Cannes. In a rare stab at irony, the Ecumenical Jury presented Lars Von Trier's transgressive saturnalia with its ad hoc "Anti-prize." They objected to its gruesome misogyny, including [SPOILER] a scene involving a pair of scissors and a part of the female anatomy.  Radu Mihaileanu,  the jury president and a Romanian filmmaker, said in announcing the award, that Von Trier was suggesting that, "woman should be burnt at the stake so that man can finally stand up." 

I'll reserve judgment until I see the film (which probably will have some offensive material, forgive the expression, snipped out in the American release) , but not before resorting to that favorite fallacious ploy of contemporary argument, the ad hominem attack. First of all, I think the reference to burning at the stake is a little unfortunate, since some of the various churches represented by the jury pretty much have had a monopoly on that practice. And until the Catholic Church starts to include women by ordaining them as priests and allow them to control their own bodies by permitting at least the use of contraceptives, if not abortions, then I suggest that these people relax with a big fat cup of shut the fuck up if they don't want to receive this year's Cannes Award for hypocrisy.

On the other hand, Mr. Mihaileanu served as an assistant director and screenwriter for Marco Ferreri, the director himself notorious for the film "The Last Woman" (1976),  which includes a scene in which Gerard Depardieu does [SPOILER] something drastic, graphic and painful with an electric knife. I don't know if Mihaileanu was involved with that movie, but it indicates that at least when it comes to genital mutilation, he knows what he's talking about.

 

Not that all of the prizes for "Antichrist" were facetious. It was nominated for the coveted "Palm Dog" for the performance of its talking fox, losing to Dug, the animated talking dog in Disney's "Up." True, a fox, strictly speaking, is not really a dog, but then does an animated dog qualify? I think "Up"'s G-rating might have swayed this one.

 

But it did win the Best Actress Award for Charlotte Gainsboroug, keeping up with a Cannes tradition of sorts. The president of the jury this year was Isabelle Huppert, who won a Best Actress Award back in 2001 for her role in "The Piano Teacher" (whose director, Michael Haneke, won the Palm d'Or this year for his "The White Ribbon") in which her character, like Gainsborough's, also engaged in some unfortunate amateur. Furthermore, in 2004 Ousmane Sembene's  "Moolaadé," a film condemnung the practice of female circumcision, won the "En certain regard" award AND a special mention from ...the Ecumenical Jury!

 

In 2006, giving equal time to the other gender, Bruno Dumont's "Flandres,"  which contains a graphic castration scene, won the Grand Prize of the Jury.


And finally, in 1976, Ingrid Thulin did not win an award for her scene involving a broken wine glass in the aptly named "Cries and Whispers," but the director Ingmar Bergman did win the mysteriously named "Technical Grand Prize."  Interpret that as you will.


So a word to the wise to those of you who want to get some attention at Cannes.

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