Austria drama among winners at Critics awards

CANNES –  Austria’s Michael Haneke’s “The White Ribbon,”  Romania’s Corneliu Porumboiu’s “Police, Adjective” and Arab-American Cherien Dabis’ “Amreeka” won awards Saturday at Cannes from the FIPRESCI Intl. Federation of Film Critics. 

FIPRESCI plaudits go to one outstanding film in Cannes Competition, Un Certain Regard and either Directors’ Fortnight or Critics’ Week.

The winning FIPRESCI trio underscore some of the pleasures of Cannes 2009. In a Competition packed out by esteemed auteurs,”Ribbon” was reckoned by many critics to catch its director near the top of his game. Lensed in crisp black-and-white, “Ribbon” captures the simmering and sinister brutality in a German rural Protestant community over 1913-14. Sony Pictures Classics acquired North America on the cusp of Cannes.

Recording a cop’s tedious surveillance of a teen pot-smoker, “Adjective” was one of a bevy of Un Certain Regard titles which turned heads this year at Cannes. It was also seen as a further step-up for Porumboiu’s from his already-admired Cannes 2006 Camera d’Or-winning “12:08 East of Bucharest” – a hard feat to pull off.

A culture clash dramedy about the travails of a Palestinian single mother and her teen son who move from Ramallah to smalltown Illinois, “Amreeka”‘s prize also reps kudos for cross-border, U.S.-international film-making. “Amreeka” is produced by First Generation Films and Alcina Pics, plus Canada’s Buffalo Gal Pictures, Levantine Entertainment and Kuwaiti production company Eagle Vision Media Group.It also pulled down significant pre-buys from Saudi Prince Waleed bin Talal’s film company Rotana as well as pay TV platform Showtime Arabia. National Geographic Ent. has taken U.S. rights; WMA sold domestic with E1 Entertainment.

Ali Jaafar contributed to this report

FIPRESCI NTL. FEDERATION OF FILM CRITICS PRIZES, CANNES 2009

COMPETITION

“The White Ribbon,” Michael Haneke (Germany-Austria-France-Italy)

UN CERTAIN REGARD

“Police, Adjective,” Corneliu Porumboiu (Romania)

DIRECTORS’ FORTNIGHT/CRITICS’ WEEK

“Amreeka,” Cherien Dabis (U.S.-Canada-Kuwait)

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