Last Updated: May 1, 2015By Tags: , ,

CANNES (France) – In a brief ceremony in the Debussy theater prizes for the Un Certain Regard (“a certain look” in French translation) program were given by the jury, presided over by Pablo Trapero.

Even though these films run in the non-competitive selection they are still recognized by a jury and awarded prizes.

Something happened tonight which I’ve never seen before: departing festival president Gilles Jacob made a rare on-stage appearance and gave a speech. He acknowledged the UCR program which he himself founded, in the late seventies. He mentioned watching with pride as the program developed and improved significantly, producing great filmmakers. As the awards ceremony got underway he remained on stage and took pictures of the audience with his iPhone, which he probably tweeted out right away (he’s a major user of Twitter and has quite a following, as does festival programmer Thierry Frémaux).

As he does each year (and I write about it, every year) Frémaux brought the Palais staff on stage and they got a rousing applause. Our own A.J. Goldmann who was seated behind me said, “they would never do that at the Berlinale,” which points to the trademark atmosphere of bonhommie that Frémaux and Jacob have instilled over the years in what has always been a very French festival.

Compared to the competition series the Un Certain Regard program is a work-in-progress. Prizes are created at the jury’s fancy and prize names are coined seemingly on-the-fly by jury members, as if they were giving birth to the films they are judging. This year’s closing ceremony included a best actor award (but no best actress award) going out to aborigene actor David Gulpilil, a Best Ensemble prize to “Party Girl” and a special prize given to Wim Wenders and Sebastiao Salgado for “Salt of the earth.”

One final anecdote: “White God,” this year’s top dog, was a movie without a name until the very end. There was confusion in the festival’s titling, the film being temporarily rechristened “White dog” by Cannes. It was later restored to “White God.” Tonight, Trapero awarded his jury’s prize to “White Dog.” As it were, both versions work quite well.

Here’s the full run-down of this year’s UCR winners:

Un Certain Regard Prize
White God (directed by Kornél Mundruczó)

Jury’s Prize
Tourist (directed by Ruben Oestlund)

Best Actor Prize
David Gulpilil for “Charlie’s Country”

Best Ensemble Prize
“Party Girl”

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