Cedar wins Best Screenplay Award at Cannes Festival

Israeli director receives praise for movie 'Footnote'; film actor Shlomo Bar Aba sends congratulations, says script is "extraordinary."

May 22, 2011 21:31
2 minute read.
Joseph Cedar (L) and Shlomo Bar Aba

joseph cedar and shlomo bar aba_311 reuters. (photo credit: REUTERS/Yves Herman)


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Israeli director Joseph Cedar won the Best Screenplay Award on Sunday at the Cannes Film Festival for his movie Footnote.

The film, which stars Lior Ashkenazi and Shlomo Baraba, tells the story of a rivalry between a father and a son who are both Talmudic scholars.

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Cedar, 42, whose previous film Beaufort was nominated for an Oscar in 2007, was called back for the ceremony after leaving Cannes, but did not make it in time to receive the award.

Actor Shlomo Baraba congratulated Cedar upon hearing the news. “The script is just extraordinary, this is very exciting,” he said.

Cedar’s Beaufort won the Silver Bear Award at the Berlin Film Festival in 2007, but this is the first prize for the American-born director, who was raised in Jerusalem, at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.

Footnote is scheduled to open throughout Israel on June 2, and will have its national premiere Monday night at the Jerusalem Cinemateque.

Sony Classics bought the rights to distribute the film internationally.

This year’s Cannes Film Festival was marred by controversy when Lars von Trier, the Danish director who was there with his latest film, Melancholia, made remarks at a press conference in which he said he sympathized with Hitler.

The festival management responded by expelling von Trier from the festival, declaring him persona non grata. His film was still allowed to take part in the competition, and his lead actress, Kirsten Dunst, won the Best Actress Award for her part in the apocalyptic drama, although the film won no other honors.

Von Trier won the festival’s top prize in 2000 with his film Dancer in the Dark.

The reclusive American director, Terrence Malick, won the Palme d’Or, the festival’s most coveted prize, for his film, Tree of Life, starring Brad Pitt as a domineering father in the ’50s. The film, which divided critics and audiences sharply, is only Malick’s fifth in a nearly 40-year career. He was last at Cannes in 1979, when he won Best Director for his film Days of Heaven.

American actor Robert De Niro headed the Cannes jury this year.

Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.

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