Awards Brought Home by MDM-Funded Films in the Cannes Competition
Presided over by Alejandro González Iñárritu, the jury of the 72nd edition of the Cannes Film Festival handed out the coveted "palmtree" awards last Saturday night. After its previous recognition by the critics’ association through the FIPRESCI award, the unusual comedy "It Must Be Heaven" by Palestinian filmmaker Elia Suleiman received a special mention from the jury at the awards ceremony. The award of the ecumenical jury went to the equally MDM-funded drama "A Hidden Life" by director Terrence Malick.
Claas Danielsen, CEO of Mitteldeutsche Medienförderung (MDM), says: "Two awards and a special mention for both MDM-funded films included in the Cannes Competition: we are thrilled to see this wonderful acknowledgment of unique works of art. Heartfelt congratulations to all those involved! I am so pleased that the funding by MDM had a part in realizing the artistic vision of these internationally renowned directors and that we helped to source the support of excellent creative minds and experts from the Mitteldeutschland region as well as unusual shooting locations."
The jury of the Féderation Internationale de la Presse Cinématographique - the international film critics’ association - honored Elia Suleiman’s comedy "It Must Be Heaven" with the FIPRESCI award for the best entry of this year’s Cannes Competition. Moreover, the film received a special mention by the official festival jury. The project, which was funded by MDM, FFA and Mini-Traité, was co-produced by Pallas Film, based in Halle (on the Saale River), and the TV networks ZDF and Arte (the latter being a German-French network).
With perfect timing reminiscent of Jacques Tati, Palestinian director and main actor Elia Suleiman employs a series of bizarre episodes to tell the life’s story of an emigrant and cosmopolitan. His astute observation and large doses of situational comedy help expose national mentalities and deliver a poignant commentary on urgent challenges such as the plight of the Palestinian people, the threat of terrorism, and the militarization of societies.
The award of the ecumenical jury went to Terence Malick’s "A Hidden Life". This award, which exists since 1974, goes to a film entered into the official Cannes Competition and picked by a jury appointed by the clerical film organizations SIGNIS and INTERFILM. The winning film is chosen based on its dedication to Christian and/or spiritual concerns.
The drama of almost three hours’ length, shot at locations including Zittau and Stollberg in the Ore Mountains in 2016, narrates the fate of Franz Jägerstätter (1907-1943), an Austrian farmer who, based on his Christian beliefs and thus conscientious objection, refused military service – an offense he was executed for in the forced-labor prison of Brandenburg on August 9, 1943 on a charge of "subversion of the war effort". At the awards ceremony, the jury lauded "the film’s high cinematographic values, direction, editing and script". It went on to say Malick, who had won a Palme d’Or in 2011 for his film "The Tree of Life", had managed to tel l"a universal story about the choices we make that transcend every earthly concern to follow one’s conscience".