CANNES holds breath as jurors meet to choose Palme d'Or

Sunday, May 20th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

CANNES, France (AP) _ Jurors huddled in a villa at an undisclosed location on the French Riviera on Sunday to choose winners from 23 movies competing in the 54th Cannes Film Festival.

There was little consensus among critics covering the festival on a potential winner for the Palme d'Or, the top prize, or for acting and directing honors.

Among the well-received films were two movies centering on family tragedies: Italian director Nanni Moretti's ``The Son's Room,'' in which Moretti stars as a man whose happy life is shattered by the death of his teen-age son; and Portuguese director Manoel de Oliveira's ``I'm Going Home,'' about an aging actor coping with the deaths of his wife, daughter and son-in-law in a car wreck.

Other films in competition included the war satire ``No Man's Land'' by Bosnian director Danis Tanovic; American filmmaker David Lynch's enigmatic Hollywood tale ``Mulholland Drive''; the whimsical love story ``Warm Water Under a Red Bridge'' by Japan's Shohei Imamura, a past Palme d'Or winner; and ``Who Knows,'' French director Jacques Rivette's farce about an actress coming to grips with her past.

Director and actress Liv Ullmann headed the 10-member Cannes jury, which included directors Terry Gilliam and Edward Yang and actresses Julia Ormond and Charlotte Gainsbourg.

The top prize in a separate competition, called ``Un Certain Regard,'' went to first-time French director Yves Caumon for ``Amour D'Enfance.'' The competition included films that did not make the main awards category, but were deemed worthy of screening at the festival.

``Amour D'Enfance'' stars Mathieu Amalric as a man trying to reconnect with his neglected parents after his father takes ill.

This year's festival was not a huge hit among film critics or the spectators who gather outside the red-carpet arrivals area for a glimpse of the stars.

Critics generally found the lineup of movies unexciting compared to last year's event, which included Lars von Trier's divisive musical ``Dancer in the Dark,'' winner of the Palme d'Or, and such acclaimed films as Yang's ``Yi Yi,'' Ullmann's ``Faithless'' and the Coen brothers' ``O Brother, Where Art Thou?''

And celebrity watchers complained that top stars were scarce this year. Stars who did turn up included Sean Penn, Frances McDormand, Tim Robbins and Jennifer Jason Leigh.

Nicole Kidman, the star of opening-night film ``Moulin Rouge,'' provided a festival highlight when she wandered off the red carpet at the movie's premiere to shake hands with fans.

Another highlight was the return of Francis Ford Coppola with ``Apocalypse Now Redux,'' a new version of his Vietnam epic that won the Palme d'Or in 1979. Coppola added 53 minutes of footage cut from the original release, restoring some darkly funny moments and a dreamlike French plantation scene.