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Canadians, Dogs, And The Cannes Film Festival
May 23, 2014
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Xavier Dolan walks the red carpet at Cannes. (Photo: AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

The Palme D’Or is the biggest prize at the Cannes Film Festival (and one of the biggest in all of film). But it isn't the only award handed out at the esteemed French festival. Un Certain Regard, a congruent competition for smaller, more avant-garde films, announced its winners today.

The top prize went to Kornel Mundruczo's White God, a Hungarian film about a canine uprising was the buzz of the festival. "I always use dogs to symbolize minorities," the director told The Associated Press. "I wanted to tell this tale as a metaphor about the European fears about dealing with minorities." Mundruczo is concerned by the rise of nationalist parties across Europe, especially in his native Hungary.

Despite the heavy subject matter, Mundruczo also amusingly accepted Cannes' unofficial “Palm Dog” prize today. The film’s star, a Labrador cross breed named Body, has been making the rounds along the Croisette in a sharp bowtie — and a camera. Here's how things looked from his perspective.

To put the meaning of this prize in perspective, last year’s Un Certain Regard winner, The Missing Picture, went on to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. And Fruitvale Station, 2013’s winner for Best First Film, became a highly awarded critical and commercial success.

Next up is the coveted Palme D'Or, which will be handed out on Saturday.

Before the festival kicked off, we reported on the abundance of Canadian content on offer this year. Three Canuck directors are in competition, including Atom Egoyan, David Cronenberg, and Xavier Dolan.

Now that the films have all been screened, it seems Dolan's Mommy is the runaway hit, and many are predicting it could take home the coveted prize. The film is about a widowed single mother who finds new hope when a mysterious neighbor while raising her violent son alone.

Here's how The Guardian described it: "an uproariously emotional movie, to all appearances painfully personal and featuring performances which are almost operatic in scale. These are real heart-on-sleeve performances; even heart-on-straightjacket performances...But Dolan's energy and attack is thrilling; his movie is often brilliant and very funny in ways which smash through the barriers marked Incorrect and Inappropriate. Prodigies don't get much more prodigious than this."

If he does collect the Palme D’Or tomorrow, Xavier Dolan would be the youngest director to ever do so. He's just 25-years-old.

"For me, it's not about a country or a province or old dilemmas or wars — that, my generation doesn't associate with or relate with anymore, by the way," he told reporters in Cannes today. "It would just be an extraordinary message to the people my age and to my generation."

The Montreal director sat down with George during September’s Toronto International Film Festival. You can watch that interview here:

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