Aside from the list of winners, this year's celebration of the Cannes Film Festival will go down in history as the year that Spanish cinema spoke Catalan. The country's only representative at Cannes was filmmaker Albert Serra with El cant dels ocells, produced by Eddie Saeta and Andergraun Films, in association with Televisió de Catalunya, a film that has confirmed Serra as one of the most acclaimed filmmakers at the French festival. In addition to Serra, three other Catalan co-productions took part in the festival: Salt of This Sea, directed by Annemarie Jacir and co-produced by Mediapro (representing the Catalan participation); Liverpool, directed by Lisandro Alonso and co-produced by Eddie Saeta; and Vicky Cristina Barcelona, directed by Woody Allen and also co-produced by Mediapro.
Liberation film critic Gérard Léfort closes his detailed analysis of the cadence of Bird Song with a "Glory to Albert Serra for having shown us that this exorbitant luxury is still possible". For his part, Jean Roy of L'Humanité announces that "the creator of Honour of the Knights has come back with a film that is still wilder and more beautiful". The organizers of the Quinzaine were also surprised at "the French film critics' enthusiastic acceptance of Serra's production, calling attention to it even before its official screening".
The haziest of markets
The solid festival presence is a sharp contrast to the lukewarm and rather dreary market activity in terms of sales. In fact, Variety Magazine reported in its Thursday Daily that for the first time US buyers were going home empty handed. All the same, Screen was more enthusiastic regarding the end results of the Marché International du Film. This ambivalence suggests a clear phenomenon: US buyers were more timorous in their purchases; a stance which experts attribute to the depreciation of the dollar.
In contrast with the moderate trend of this year's MIF, the event was not devoid of its milestones, such as the sale of Nacho G. Velilla's opera prima Fuera de carta (Chef's Special), produced by Canguro Producciones, to twenty regions worldwide. For its part, the production and distribution giant Filmax International felt that the market was highly successful in the end.