Tarantino’s Nazi film, Israeli drama win at Cannes

Thursday, May 28, 2009 | by

cannes, france   |   Quentin Tarantino’s tale of a band of Jewish Allied commandos who plot to take out top Nazi leaders won a top award at the Cannes Film Festival on May 24.

Austrian actor Christoph Waltz earned the best-actor award for his gleefully homicidal role as Nazi Col. Hans Landa, renowned in Germany as an ace “Jew hunter” in “Inglourious Basterds.”

The film, which will be released in the U.S. on Aug. 21, is a rewriting of the end of World War II, in which the band of commandos, led by Brad Pitt, plots to take out the Nazi leaders at a film premiere in Paris.

Austrian director Michael Haneke’s somber World War I drama “The White Ribbon” claimed the top prize, the Palme D’Or, while French actress Charlotte Gainsbourg won the best actress honor for Lars von Trier’s “Antichrist,” a film that riled and repelled many Cannes viewers with its explicit images of physical abuse involving a grieving couple.

A few Israeli films made it into the festival, though only one went home a winner.

While the Australian film “Samson and Delilah” won the Camera D’Or prize for the best first feature film, “Ajami,” a Jaffa-set drama directed by Israeli Yaron Shani and Palestinian Scandar Copti, was the second runner-up, receiving the Camera D’Or–Special Distinction award. “Ajami” screened in the Directors’ Fortnight competition.

Nazareth-born Elia Suleiman’s “The Time That Remains” was Israel’s lone entry in the main competition for the Palme D’Or. Filmed in Ramallah and Jerusalem, it is a look at Israeli history from 1948 to the present. Suleiman won the 2002 Jury Prize at Cannes for his film “Divine Intervention.”

Also up for an award was “Eyes Wide Open,” the directorial debut of Israeli film editor Haim Tabakman. Shown in the Un Certain Regard competition, the film is a gay love story set in Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox community.

Keren Yedaya’s “Jaffa,” a drama about Israelis and Israeli Arabs, was shown in a special out-of-competition screening. Yedaya was the surprise winner of the Camera D’Or at Cannes in 2004 with her film “Or.”