‘The Tree of Life‘, Terrence Malick’s first film in six years, has won the Palme d’Or. Good. You’ve got to be happy for the Malick. I’m not sure how enthusiastic I will be about the film, however. It sounds irksomely profound. Then again, from what I’d read, I wasn’t too sure about last year’s winner, ‘Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives,’ but was utterly enchanted by that film when I saw it, and when I came to consider it in writing, I found I loved it all the more (if you haven’t already read the article, you’ll find it here).
I had ‘Uncle Boonmee’ in mind when I started to prepare this blog. The build-up to the Academy Awards was also reaching a crescendo and the web was brimming with representations for and against ‘The King’s Speech’, ‘The Social Network’, ‘Black Swan’, et al. I was tempted to wade in, but resisted. The discussion seemed to assume the Academy’s decision was of some critical consequence and I didn’t want to buy in to that. Not any more. It’s not that the Academy makes mistakes on occasion: it’s that it rarely even permits itself to consider the best films, that’s without mentioning the campaigning now required to make an impact.
No, if there’s any award in the film world that comes consistently close to picking the film of the year, it’s the Palme d’Or. Unfortunately, we can’t get so involved in that pageant because so few of us will have seen the films. One thing’s for sure though: Cannes beats the Academy every time. Or does it?
I’ve knocked up a little pub game for us to play.
The last twenty Best Pictures versus the last twenty Palme d’Or winners. Pick your favourite each year and see who comes out on top. (If you haven’t seen both – why not?! – you can strike that year, and if you can’t decide, well, declare it a tie.) I’ll publish my scores, next Sunday.
Returning to ‘The Tree of Life‘, could this be the year that Cannes and Oscar* agree?
Cannes versus Oscar*
2010: Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives ~ The King’s Speech
2009: The White Ribbon ~ The Hurt Locker
2008: The Class ~ Slumdog Millionaire
2007: 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days ~ No Country For Old Men
2006: The Wind That Shakes The Barley ~ The Departed
2005: L’enfant ~ Crash
2004: Fahrenheit 9/11 ~ Million Dollar Baby
2003: Elephant ~ Lord of the Rings: The Return of the Ring
2002: The Pianist ~ Chicago
2001: The Son’s Room ~ A Beautiful Mind
2000: Dancer In The Dark ~ Gladiator
1999: Rosetta ~ American Beauty
1998: Eternity and a Day ~ Shakespeare In Love
1997: Taste of Cherry / The Eel ~ Titanic
1996: Secrets & Lies ~ The English Patient
1995: Underground ~ Braveheart
1994: Pulp Fiction ~ Forrest Gump
1993: The Piano / Farewell My Concubine ~ Schindler’s List
1992: The Best Intentions ~ Unforgiven
1991: Barton Fink ~ The Silence of the Lambs
If you haven’t already, please leave your scores/selection as a comment. I’m very interested to see which comes out on top. There’s an additional challenge now, as suggested by a reader: how many of these titles couldn’t be sat through again, or to put it another way, which of these titles would you never want to see again?