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Cannes 2010: More surprise than laughter as 'Ha Ha Ha' takes a prize in Cannes

May 22, 2010 |  5:46 pm

We were traveling earlier in the evening and couldn't post this news right away, but a bit of a surprise in Cannes as "Ha Ha Ha," Hong Sangsoo's Korean-themed contemplation of destiny and purpose, scored the top prize in the festival's Un Certain Regard section on Saturday night.

The film centers on two native Koreans who meet each other in present-day Canada only to discover they had once been on a trip to Korea together. The film won after premiering at the festival on Friday, after many of the other Un Certain Regard titles had been unveiled -- and despite comparatively few observers touting its odds for a big trophy. (The Ryan Gosling-Michelle Williams marital drama "Blue Valentine" and the Romanian gem "Tuesday after Christmas" were our own favorites in the section, but then, the jury doesn't usuallly consult with U.S. film reporters.)

Daniel and Diego Vega's "Octubre" won the runner-up jury prize in the section, while the actresses from Ivan Fund's and Santiago Losas' "Los Labios" were bestowed a special acting award.

The announcement sets the stage for Sunday night's Palme d'Or announcement, in what experts say is one of the most wide-open races for the Cannes top prize in years. Korean existential drama "Poetry," Thai genre-buster "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall Past Lives" British character drama "Another Year" and Mexican-Spanish melodrama "Biutiful" are all considered top contenders.

--Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Un Certain Regard winner "Ha Ha Ha." Credit: Cannes Film Festival