The 2011 Cannes Film Festival is just stumbling on its last legs, with the final big film of the festival, Sean Penn starrer "This Must Be The Place," bowing this morning (watch for our review in a few hours). The festival's main awards won't be revealed until Sunday, but a select few awards have already been given out, focusing on films in the Critic's Week, the sidebar which highlights first and second films from directors, and celebrates its 50th year in 2011.
The Grand Prix was won by "Take Shelter," the apocalyptic drama from "Shotgun Stories" director Jeff Nichols, which stars Michael Shannon and girl-of-the-moment Jessica Chastain. The film premiered at Sundance, where we called it a "slow-burning silent scream" -- Sony Pictures Classics picked it up there, for a U.S. debut on October 7th. The film also picked up an award from the Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers.
Another dark tale, the based-on-fact Australian serial killer thriller "Snowtown," picked up a prize, winning a special mention from the Critic Week jury's president (in this case, Korean helmer Lee Chang-dong. Again, we caught it at Cannes, where we said it was "uneven, but still mesmerizing and disturbing" -- so really, the kind of film that 'special mentions' were designed for, and one that we're not in the least surprised that Chang-dong approved of. It should be noted, this film was hugely divisive on the Croisette. Reports of audiences banging their seats and/or walking out during some of the film's more graphic moments were definitely the talk of those that caught the film.
Finally, Argentinian picture "Las Acacias," a low-key road movie about a truck driver and his passenger, picked up two awards, the CID/CCAS prize, from the Association of Independent Cinema for Distribution, and the OFAJ (Very) Young Critics' award, which is awarded by European students. Come back on Sunday for more news of the festival's main awards. Spoiler: "Kung Fu Panda 2" is more likely to win Best Director than Lars Von Trier. [Variety]