Episode 119

(27 May, 2011)

Chaz Ebert: 2011 Cannes #2

Transcript for Chaz Ebert: 2011 Cannes #2

Want a ticket to the Cannes Film Festival? Well, we’ve got the next best thing. Our executive producer Chaz Ebert has been reporting for our website. Here’s her latest report from the world’s most influential film festival.

Bonjour, today we wrap up our coverage of Cannes 2011. At this year’s film Cannes Film Festival, director Terrence Malick’s “Tree of Life” won the top prize; the Palm D’or. In the 64 years of the festival, an American director has won this prize only 15 times.

The Cannes Film Festival attracts serious film lovers and high profile celebrities, but it also attracts many other characters like the leopard ladies, who appear year after year. And it has been just as interesting this year on the red carpet. But the one common denominator everyone has here is a love of film.

A great place to discuss films with fellow Americans is The American Pavilion. Many countries from around the world have their own gathering place in the International Village on the beach. The American Pavilion, founded by Julie Sisk, runs a program for American film students to work and experience Cannes. And it also has the Roger Ebert Conference Center, which opened in 2009 with the ribbon cutting featuring Martin Scorsese. This is where seminars are held throughout the festival. Cannes, or course, has no shortage of opportunities to see films, as well; from numerous press screenings and red carpet premiers at The Palet, to market place screenings for film buyers and sellers.

But even with all the films being shown, getting tickets is not easy, and there are always people in front of The Palet hoping someone has a ticket to spare. One sure fire way to catch a great movie is at the Cinema De La Plage, where the festival screens classic movies free to the public right on the beach. It’s a great way to spend an evening.

For those who want even more of a glimpse into the experience of Cannes, Roger Ebert’s book, “Two Weeks In the Midday Sun” is still one of the best books around. Roger talks about hanging out at the Majestic hotel and at the Hotel Splendid. He takes you on a tour of unusual places and shows you eccentric characters. And he also lets you in on some of his rituals like an early morning coffee and paper at a corner café. He even illustrated the book with his own drawings.

But in the end, Cannes is of course, about the films. In addition to the Palm D’or, the Jury, led by Robert DeNiro, gave out prizes to some of the other 20 films in competition. Nicholas Winding-Refn won the Best Director prize for his film “Drive,” starring lots of fast cars and shot in America. Jean Dujardin was named Best Actor for his crowd-pleasing performance in the black and white film, “The Artist.”

Despite director Lars Von Trier’s meltdown during the press conference for “Meloncholia,” Kirsten Dunst still managed to be awarded the Best Actress prize. And what a stunner of a performance it was. Some scenes are so painful to watch, they tell you everything you need to know about depression.

Cannes 2011 was a rousing success, and I can’t wait to take you back there in 2012. Au revoir!

Thank you so much for that, Chaz.