Cannes 1999: No, David Cronenberg did not “stole” the Palme d’Or from Pedro Almodovar

President of the jury at the time, the director of Crimes of the Future had honored Rosetta, by the Dardenne brothers, and not All About My Mother, by the Spanish director. A decision that is still debated today.

Viggo Mortensen took advantage of his visit to Cannes (to present The Crimes of the Future) to defend its director, David Cronenberg. The two men know each other well, since they toured together A History of Violence (2005), Shadow Promises (2007) and A Dangerous Method (2011), so the actor can go behind the scenes of the 1999 Palme d’Or presentation, when the Canadian filmmaker was president of the jury (composed of André Téchiné, George Miller, Holly Hunter and Jeff Goldblum, among others). . This year, all about my motherof Pedro Almodóvar seemed favorite, but the ultimate prize eventually went to Rosetta, by Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne. It was the last film to be screened in competition, and it immediately won over the jury, who voted quickly and unanimously for it. Pedro Almodovar, whose drama was also adored, received the prize for directing, and a “standing ovation” from the public by coming to receive this award. Seeing the Palme pass under his nose, however, was difficult to digest, as he admitted in 2019, when presenting pain and glory on the Croisette. “I will never be as close to the Palme d’Or as I was in 1999 for all about my motherhe regretted thus withEl País.

Pedro Almodovar tells his story naked in Pain and Glory: our interview

If the filmmaker has never hidden his disappointment, some critics and journalists have gone further by accusing Cronenberg and his jury of having awarded the Palme to a film other than his for political reasons, justifying for example that all about my mother would make a good candidate for the Oscars. This conversation has come up regularly since 1999, until very recently. At the start of the 75th Cannes Film Festival, it reached the ears of Viggo Mortensen, who strongly defended the filmmaker toIndieWire : “It’s like with Trump. You keep repeating one thing and people start believing it when it’s a total lie. I love Pedro, he’s a nice guy, but this jury was the quickest to vote for a Palme d’or, for this film entitled Rosetta. Unanimously, all nine voted for this film. The president of the jury only counts for one vote, and everyone chose this film. So how could Cronenberg have ‘deprive’ Pedro de la Palm? This story doesn’t make sense.”

Already, in 2014, David Cronenberg had tried to silence these rumors by detailing to vulnerability how the voting went: “They’re trying to make it look like I coerced the jury by ordering them not to give big prizes to my contemporaries: Pedro, Jim Jarmusch, John Sayles and others, who were showing movies that year. But that was not me, I only had one vote, you know? There was a real disconnect between what had really happened and what we read in the press. But hey, it’s Cannes. It’s always very political.”

Like Pedro Almodovar, David Cronenberg was in the running six times during his career for the Palme d’Or, but never won it. The Dardenne brothers received two, for Rosettaso, then for The Childin 2005. They could win a third this year for their drama Tori and Lokita.

Viggo Mortensen praises Cronenberg ahead of Future Crimes release: ‘Crash is way above Titanium’

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