CATEGORIES Drama, Foreign Language, Independent, Awards, Cannes, Mystery & Suspense, Newsstand, Cinematical Indie, Movie News, Awards, CinematicalIgnoring the odds-makers and pundits who touted Pedro Almodóvar's Volver and Alejandro Gonzáles Iñárritu's Babel as the likely winners of the festival's top prize, Cannes jury chair Wong Kar Wai and his colleagues instead tonight awarded the Palme d'Or to Ken Loach's The Wind that Shakes the Barley. The film, a brutal tale of life in the IRA in the 1920s, impressed critics, but had nevertheless been completely overlooked in the pre-awards gossip. The Grand Prize (the festival's unofficial second-place ribbon), meanwhile, went to Bruno Dumont's Flanders (a film that made James so angry he wanted to slug Monsieur Dumont), while Red Road, which moved and unsettled a lot of critics, took the Special Jury Prize.
Though both films failed to take the top prize, neither Babel nor Volver went home empty-handed. Iñárritu was named the festival's best director, while Almodovar's female cast -- Penelope Cruz, Carmen Maura, Lola Duenas, Blanca Portillo, Yohana Cobo, Chus Lampreave -- was collectively named the festival's best actress (the largely male cast of Algerian drama Days of Glory received the same treatment when it came to the best actor award).