Michael Haneke, a director whose films are quite good but not for those looking for a nice, pick-me-up (“The Piano Teacher” has nothing do with piano lessons or teaching, I assure you), took home the Palme d’Or, the top prize at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival for his film “The White Ribbon” which is a stark black-and-white drama set in a rural German village on the eve of WWI…so still probably not a laugh-a-minute romp.
This is Haneke’s first time taking home the Palme but he’s received love from the festival before, winning Best Director in 2005 for “Cache” and the Grand Prix for “The Piano Teacher”. Actress Isabelle Huppert, who won Best Actress for “Piano Teacher” at Cannes and served as President of the Jury this year, bestowed the award on a delighted Haneke.
Other awards include the Grand Prix for Jacques Audiard’s tough prison drama, “A Prophet,” and Sony Classics must be pretty happy right now since they bought the rights to both “Ribbon” and “Prophet” before either film screened at the festival. That’s some nice foresight on their part.
Adding fuel to the Oscar-buzz he’s already gaining for his performance in “Inglourious Basterds”, Christopher Waltz took home Best Actor for his portrayal of Col. Landa, a Nazi “Jew Hunter” (please let the film have bagels on fishing hooks; pleeeease let the film have bagels on fishing hooks) and while Lars Von Trier’s “Antichrist” provoked strong reactions from its audience, Charlotte Gainsbourg won Best Actress.
Finally, Grand Jury prizes were given to Andrea Arnold for “Fish Tank” and Park Chan-wook for “Thirst”.
Click here to see the full list of award winners.