The films: Cannes' main attraction

At the 60th annual Cannes Film Festival a number of films have made an impact on audiences and judges alike.

A few of this year's highly anticipated films were Michael Moore's documentary drama "Sicko," which chronicles the woes of the American healthcare system, and Michael Winterbottom's "A Mighty Heart," produced by Brad Pitt and starring Angelina Jolie as the widow of slain journalist Daniel Pearl.

Although the film screened out of competition, Steven Soderbergh's crime sequel "Oceans 13," starring Matt Damon and George Clooney, received no less media hype.

One of this year's runners up for the prized Palme d'Or is the film "Paranoid Park" by director Gus Van Sant, winner of the 2003 Palme d'Or for "Elephant."

Van Sant's latest work is cut from the same cloth of his other tell-tale films that document the trials and tribulations of disaffected youth in America.

True to Americana culture, Van Sant put out a casting call on MySpace to recruit actors for "Paranoid Park."

In the film, Alex (newcomer Gabe Nevins) plays the cherubic protagonist whose world spirals out of control after he accidentally causes the death of a security guard one night after drifting with the wrong crowd at a skate park in a rough part of Portland, Oregon.

In "Paranoid Park," Van Sant cleverly adds a mix of campy alternative music mixed with Beethoven and a looney tunes-esque score that eloquently reflect the irony of Alex's moral dilemma.

On the surface Alex is flippant about the gravity of the crime.

When questioned by a police investigator about his whereabouts the night of the crime, Alex sardonically details the type of subway sandwich he ordered (with fresh herb and cheese bread, hold the mustard).

But Van Sant's slow motion scenes, such as the one of Alex showering after the incident, show his character deeply afflicted.

This was one of the highlights of the films on display at the festival and was certainly deserving of its 60th Anniversary Award.
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