In award-giving bodies for film, it only seems sensible that whoever wins the award for best film should also win the best director nod and vice-versa, right?
However, if you observe different award shows, you’ll notice that this isn’t always the case – in fact, winning both awards at one instance is almost a rare feat. One of these award-giving bodies is the prestigious Cannes Film Festival that, throughout its 67-year history, has handed out both the Palme d’Or (Best Film) and the Prix de la mise en scéne (Best Director) only twice to the same entities.
So in commemoration of the first edition of the Cannes being held on this day in 1946, we take a look at these films: Joel Coen’s “Barton Fink” directed by Joel Coen and “Elephant” by Gus van Sant.
“Barton Fink” (1991)
“Barton Fink” is a “satirical black comedy” by the Coen brothers Joel and Ethan. It should be noted that both brothers directed and produced the film, although Joel was only credited as the director and Ethan, the producer. “Barton Fink” stars John Torturro as a playwright from New York turned screenwriter for a film outlet in Hollywood.
IMDB summarizes the movie,
A renowned New York playwright is enticed to California to write for the movies and discovers the hellish truth of Hollywood.
Aside from the two abovementioned prizes, “Barton Fink” also bagged another major plum, the Best Actor for John. Apparently, such feat was “extremely rare” at Cannes. In any case, the film was positively received by most critics and went on to receive a number of nominations from other award-giving bodies such as the Academy Awards and the Belgian Syndicate of Cinema Critics.
“Elephant is a drama film written, edited, and directed by van Sant that centers on an unfortunate school shooting event set in a fictional high school in the US. It is said to be based on the infamous Columbine High School massacre of 1999, where two senior students open fired inside the establishment, killing themselves and 15 others, as well as injuring 21 people.
At the time of its release, “Elephant” was deemed controversial as it is said to be the first movie post-Columbine to tell the story of a shooting incident inside a school and could therefore possibly push teenagers to emulate the scenes depicted in it. Aside from the Palme d’Or, it won a special award, the Cinema Prize of the French National Education System.
The film garnered a warm reception from its audience, earning a total of $10,012,022 worldwide when it was screened from Oct. 2003 until Jan. 2004.