Cannes Winners Announced
Austrian Director Michael Haneke, who is not unfamiliar with film-festival acclaim, has earned the top Palme d'Or prize at the 62nd annual Cannes Film Festival. His entry, The White Ribbon, had received qualified raves from film critics attending the festival. Xan Brooks of Britain's Guardian wrote that "if the picture finally does not quite achieve the level of a masterpiece, this may be down to the fact that I've always found Haneke to be a cold, stern and aloof director; the creator of films that I can admire but never love." That opinion of his work appeared to be reflected by the fact that until now, Haneke had always been an also-ran in the Cannes contest. He had won the Grand Prix in 2001 for The Piano Teacher and Best Director in 2005 for Caché , but he has never been able to take home the golden palm award. Commercial success has also eluded him. When he remade his German-language Funny Games in English last year with Naomi Watts and Tim Roth in the starring roles, the New York Times 's A.O. Scott observed, "His scrupulously constructed, skillfully made films, many of which have won prizes at leading international festivals, are excruciatingly suspenseful and also, more often than not, clammy and repellent." It grossed only $1.29 million. The White Ribbon was picked up by Sony Classics on the first day of the festival for an undisclosed amount.