Cannes ’11 Day 12: The end

Jean Dujardin bows to jury.jpgThis is a long film festival with a short awards ceremony. Just under two weeks of moviegoing culminates in less than an hour of tears, laughter, and shortness of breath. And that was just the aftermath of the Lars von Trier press conference on Wednesday. For now, the 64th Cannes is known as the year a great director became an ideological "Die Hard" villain. But who can say how history will frame it: The year nobody agreed, the sequel?

Which is not to say there were no popular favorites. On the last Sunday, the festival re-screens the 20 movies in the main competition. It's like a market day, where you -- the general public and assorted badge-holders -- can see what that the trades, your friends, and whoever you follow on Twitter have been talking about. It's the most fun day of the 12. All you're really doing is going to the movies. This morning, several hours before the closing ceremonies, hundreds of people and I went a little mad for seats to "The Artist," a comedy set in Hollywood that the director Michel Hazanavicius has done as a silent movie about a prideful actor facing obsolescence with the advent of talkies. He discovers an actress, falls in love, and has the most adorable terrier.

Jean Dujardin.jpgI arrived early enough to get a seat, which failed to stop anyone from crawling over me to snag one of his. There were sprints and musical chairs for seats, 4x100-style, about the Debussy Theater. That lasted a good 10 minutes. Once the movie started, the mood changed. You could hear the sound of rapt attention -- and not only because no one speaks. (There were far more silent movies in and around the main competition.) The audience seemed to love this charming but severely overlong movie (100 minutes!). Beforehand, over-the-top things were said about the French funny man Jean Dujardin (pictured above; all the photos are Agence France Presse) who plays the movie's star -- or is it "star within a star"? I'd just like to know why no one's talking about the dog.

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