A ‘Burning’ drama from Murakami short story
VECDI SAYAR - CANNES
The 71st Cannes film Festival is closing on May 19 with the distribution of awards. Among the strong contenders of the Golden Palm, European and American productions (French film “In War,” Polish “Cold War” and “Blackkklansman” of Spike Lee) are in the foreground, as well as a film from Korea, which had its premiere on May 17.
“Burning,” directed by Lee Chang-dong, has a strong chance to appear on the list of prizes (I would suggest, the Golden Palm or the Best Director award). Of course, Nuri Bilge Ceylan has a chance to double his Palm tonight with his film “The Wild Pear Tree” (but since we haven’t seen the film yet we can’t comment on it).
“Burning” is a powerful and heartbreaking adaptation of a short story by the Japanese writer Haruki Murakami, an intimate love story turned into a thriller. The spectator was left unsure about the facts such as the existence of a cat or whether our hero’s adversary was a serial killer or not. Despite its length—two and a half hours— “Burning” conveys a social panorama of today’s Korea, showing the class conflicts and shift of values.
“Cold War” by Pawel Pawlikowski, another love story located in the 1950’s Poland, is also a candidate for Best Director or Best Artistic Contribution. The film has a strong sensual and visual impact with its beautiful black and white frames. The actors of the film, Joanna Kulig and Tomaszkot, may also be considered due to their beautifully fluid performances.
The Lebanese film “Capharnaüm,” directed by Nadine Labaki and shown on May 17, are also among the favorites. With a strong social content — poverty, neglected children, refugees — and naturalistic depiction, the film tells the story of a 12-year-old boy suing his parents for bringing him into this cruel world.
There are so many marvelous performances in the competition lineup, so it is very difficult to predict the prizes. Korean actor Yoo Ah-in of “Burning,” Vincent Lindon of “In War,” John David Washington of “Blackkklansman,” Zhao Tao of the Chinese pic “Ash is the Purest White” and actresses Jafari Behnaz of the Iranian pic “Three Faces,” Higashide Masahiro of the Japanese film “Asako,” and Irina Starshenbaum of the Russian pic “Summer” can be considered for the acting awards.
It is also possible to have a special award for all actors (and actresses) of the Japanese pic “Shoplifters,” the story of a family making their living from shoplifting. I can suggest that the award for Best Screenplay will also serve for this film.
Other contenders in the category of Best Screenplay might be “Happy as Lazzaro” by Alice Rochrwacaher, “Summer” of Kirill Serebrennikov, who couldn’t attend the festival due to a court case in Russia, and “Three Faces” written by Jafar Panahi and Nader Saeivar.
It is predictable that a special award, or even a Grand Prix du Jury, will go to the famous French helmet Jean-Luc Godard for his “Image Book,” especially on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of May 1968, where he was on the stage to protest the government and urged the festival to stop.
I must note that French pic “Knife + Heart” of Yann Gonzalez and Sergey Dvortsevoy’s “Ayka” did not have their premieres at the time of printing.
Let’s hope that Ceylan wins another victory this year.