Big Day and Night for David Lynch : Movies: The director’s ‘Wild at Heart’ wins the Cannes Film Festival Gold Palm. At the same time, ABC-TV picks up ‘Twin Peaks’ for the fall season.


David Lynch’s “Wild at Heart,” an erotic and violent black comedy about a young Southern couple’s attempt to escape the woman’s mother and an assortment of hired killers, was named the best picture of the 43rd Cannes Film Festival on Monday night.

It was a good day all around for the director. News of Lynch’s Cannes win came at about the same time that ABC-TV announced that his quirky prime-time soap opera “Twin Peaks” will be returning in the fall.

As is usually the case with the demonstrative international crowd, the announcement of “Wild at Heart” as the 1990 Gold Palm winner drew a mixture of cheers and jeers.

Lynch’s film, a twisted tale that blends flashbacks and fantasies with ironic dialogue and often graphic sex and violence, would seem to defy translation. And it was up against two very popular French films--Bertrand Tavernier’s “Daddy Nostalgie,” and Jean-Paul Rappeneau’s “Cyrano de Bergerac.”


It also marks the second year in a row that an American film has won here. Steven Soderbergh’s “sex, lies, and videotape” was the 1989 Gold Palm recipient. This year’s Gold Palm for best short film also went to an American film, Columbia University student Adam Davidson’s “The Lunch Date.”

The Samuel Goldwyn Co. has picked up “Wild at Heart” and will open the film in the U.S. on Aug. 17.

Unlike the Academy Awards, where directors are usually honored with their films, Cannes invariably splits those awards and this year the jury--headed by Italian filmmaker Bernardo Bertolucci--named Pavel Lounguine best director for the Soviet-French co-production “Taxi Blues.”

Gerard Depardieu, the popular French actor who has been many times a contender but never before a winner, was named best actor for his performance in the title role of “Cyrano de Bergerac.” Poland’s Krystyna Janda was named best actress for her role in “The Interrogation,” a story about a Polish singer imprisoned as a suspected spy during the height of post-World War II Stalinist paranoia.

“The Interrogation” was made eight years ago and banned in Poland until last fall.

Special jury prizes, which are seen as runner-up awards, were presented to Soviet director Gleb Panfilov for “Matz” (“The Mother”), adapted from a Maxim Gorky story about a woman’s anguish over her son’s radicalization in czarist Russia, and to British director Ken Loach for “Hidden Agenda,” a controversial political drama that depicts an act of terrorism by British secret agents in Northern Ireland.

Two other awards for originality went to Burkina Faso director Idrissa Quedraogo’s “Tilai” (“The Rule”) and Japanese director Kohei Oguri’s “Shi No Toge” (“The Sting of Death”).

Although Lynch’s film was the highlight of the festival for the American press, its winning of the Gold Palm caught many by surprise and obviously disappointed the bulk of the non-English critics. By the estimation of three panels of critics who were polled daily to rate the films in competition, the favorites were Lounguine’s “Taxi Blues,” a story of class conflict told through the love-hate relationship between a Moscow cab driver and a Jewish musician; Tavernier’s “Daddy Nostalgie,” about a young woman’s reunion with her dying father; and Rappeneau’s lavish production of “Cyrano de Bergerac.”

Italian director Gieuseppe Tornatore’s “Everything’s Fine,” the story of an aging Italian widower (Marcello Mastroianni) who makes a painful round of visits to his five grown children, was also a big favorite.

Commercially, Alan Parker’s “Come See the Paradise” may prove to be the most successful film to come out of Cannes. The film, a sentimental interracial love story set against the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, was one of the festival’s biggest crowd pleasers (along with “Cyrano de Bergerac”) and has all the elements that make for Oscar contenders.

“Come See the Paradise” stars Dennis Quaid and Tamlyn Tomita and is scheduled for release in December by Columbia-Tri-Star. “Wild at Heart,” which co-stars Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern, is scheduled to open Aug. 17 in 100 theaters and go wide Aug. 31.

There were three other American films in the Directors Fortnight, a side competition whose entries often overshadow the Gold Palm program. The Directors Fortnight is where Spike Lee (“She’s Gotta Have It”) and James Jarmusch (“Stranger Than Paradise”) were discovered.

Whit Stillman’s “Metropolitan,” a comedy about upscale young Manhattanites, was clearly the most talked-about American film in the Fortnight, and there were turn-away crowds at most screenings. Charles Burnett’s “To Sleep With Anger,” a film about disrupted family life in South-Central Los Angeles, was well-received here.