CANNES, FRANCE -- Breaking news from the Cote d'Azur: Laurent Cantet's The Class, a kind of Gallic Half Nelson about boundary-pushing kids in a blackboard jungle, has taken the big Palme d'Or from Sean Penn's Cannes Film Festival Jury. Which is fine with me -- I like the movie. But I'd be remiss here not to give a l'il shout out to another deserving Cannes film, Albert Serra's El Cant Dels Ocells (Birdsong), an ultra-minimalist cross between The Gospel According to St. Matthew and Gus Van Sant's Gerry -- with a touch of the Three Stooges. In Serra's film, my Cinema Scope editor and pal Mark Peranson makes his screen debut in a genius turn as Joseph (that's him, rubbing sore head, above-left), the emasculated spouse of the immaculately conceiving Mary. I know a critic isn't supposed to review his friend's movie -- just like Penn isn't supposed to judge his buddy Clint Eastwood's Changeling, which somehow snared the Prix du 61e Festival. But I can say that Peranson, whether breathing onscreen or, in high drama, swatting a fly, proves himself the definitive heir to Marlon Brando's Method throne. And I can say that because this isn't journalism, it's just yet another blog wherein anything goes. Right?
-- Rob Nelson