This year's winner of the Palme d'Or, the top prize at Cannes, will probably wow viewers when it gets worldwide distribution. But, for now, philistines will marvel at the bundle of art house clichés that are embedded in this piece of cinema news.
The winner is called La Vie D'Adele (The Life of Adele) but it will play in the English speaking world under the title Blue is the Warmest Color. The film is — would you believe?— a French drama. It is over three hours long (huge surpise!), and focuses on the relationship between two women.
I will probably cry when I eventually see this film, but for now … I mean … c'mon. How big of a cliché can Cannes be? What will the TIMES headline say? "Sanctimonious French Film Festival Gives Its Top Honor to Kabuki-Length Lesbian Romance" is how I imagine it, right above other predictable news like "Summer Blockbuster Makes Money" and "The Sky Is Blue Today."
Perhaps Cannes's choice of Steven Spielberg as head juror was asking for it. The American movie oligarch buys clichés in bulk, and knows his constituency’s expectations a little too well. "If only I could be edgy," he probably thought as he extended his vote into the golden swan or whatever pretentious object they use for a ballot box.
This time, the jury also recognized actresses Adele Excharpulous and Lea Seydoux along with the film in their statement announcing the winner. This is perhaps the only way people would differentiate between this year's statement and those of years before.
Maybe next year they will pick an action film. Just kidding.