CANNES — Cambodian Rithy Panh’s autobiographical doc feature “The Missing Picture,” a highly personal account of the horrors of childhood lived under the Pol Pot regime, won the Un Certain Regard Prize at the Cannes Film Festival on Saturday.
“Picture” mixing recollections with the director’s quest for a photograph of human suffering during Panh’s childhood, which coincided with Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror, the director Unable to locate a photo, he fills the void with naïf clay figures of people at the time.
The top Un Certain Regard plaudit reps further recognition for “Picture.” Well-reviewed, the Films Distribution sold title has broken out to multiple territory sales at Cannes, including deals with the U.K. (New Wave) and Japan (Astair). A U.S. deal is in advanced negotiations.
Released by The Weinstein Co. release Stateside, the fact-based drama “Fruitvale” completed a Sundance-Cannes double, winning at both fests, a feat achieved last year by “Beasts of the Southern Wild” which went on to further glory in the U.S. awards season. One large question is whether “Fruitvale” could in any way follow suit.
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Un Certain Regard’s wide prize spread was in recognition of the wealth of talent on display at this year’s section, said jury president, Danish film director Thomas Vinterberg.
The Match Factory-sold “Omar,” from Palestine’s Hany Abu-Assad, scooped the Un Certain Regard jury prize. A tale of friendship between three childhood friends, now young men, which is torn apart by the Palestine-Israeli conflict, “Omar” marks the latest film from the helmer of Golden Globe winner “Paradise Now.”
Directed by France’s Alain Guiraudie (“The King of Escape”), gay sexual thriller “Stranger by the Lake” took Best Direction.
A Strand Releasing U.S. buy at Cannes, “Stranger” is set at a secluded lakeside beach, a cruising locale for gay men. Part drama-thriller, part exploration of desire, it is produced by Sylvie Pialat and Benoit Quainon at Paris-based Les Films du Worso, which also backed Berlin Competition entry “La Religieuse.”
In one of the most applauded kudos of the night, a Certain Talent Award went to the ensemble cast of Diego Quemada-Diez’s “The Golden Cage”: Brandon Lopez, Rodolfo Dominguez, Karen Martinez and Carlos Chajon.
An immigration drama-thriller from Mexico-based Spaniard Quemada-Diez, a one-time Ken Loach camera assistant, “Golden Cage” tracks three Guatemalan teens’ nightmarish journey from their home country to the U.S. border, while steering clear of stereotypes or a feel-good finale.
Quemada-Diez’s feature debut is produced by two of Mexico’s most prominent young production houses: Edher Campos’ Machete Productions, the company behind Michael Rowe’s Cannes Camera d’Or winner “Leap Year,” and Inma Payan’s Animal de Luz, whose co-production credits include Adrian Caetano’s “Mala” and Beatriz Sanchis’ “Everyone is Dead.”
Cannes’ main competition prizes will be announced Sunday by a jury presided over by Steven Spielberg
Emilio Mayorga contributed to this article.