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Festival de Cannes 70: Kathy Burke, 1997

A sunny shout-out to 70 winners at the Cannes Film Festival to celebrate the 70th event which is just around the corner – in no particular order.

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It is no secret that Cannes juries over the years have been suckers for bleak British movies. And British actresses. The unforgettable Nil By Mouth is no exception. Written and directed by Gary Oldman, the chameleon actor deserved the plaudits for dragging us face first through the mud of domestic abuse. Everyone, too, was talking about the monstrous performance from Ray Winstone (many still say he was robbed here). I remember seeing the news that it was Kathy Burke who came away from the festival with the Best Actress prize for her remarkable turn as the battered wife Valerie. What a lot of people outside of the UK (and perhaps many of that year’s Cannes jury) will not have experienced is Burke’s comedy TV work – most notably the comic sketch shows she did with Harry Enfield. The prospect of seeing her in this kind of gritty big screen role was a hard contrast to imagine, but seeing it for myself blew me away. An impressive, true winner indeed.

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