Shoplifters nabs Palme d’Or in Cannes

Spike Lee, Pawlikowski, and Panahi among winners

by Richard Mowe

Spike Lee wins Cannes Grand Prix
Spike Lee wins Cannes Grand Prix Photo: Festival de Cannes

Cate Blanchett’s 71st Cannes Film Festival jury tonight (19 May) has bestowed the top award, the Palme d’Or, on Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda for Shoplifters.

In a break with tradition, the jury also attributed a special Palme d’Or to Jean-Luc Godard for The Image Book and his work in defining and redefining the language of cinema.

Jean-Luc Godard loomed large over the ceremony - but not in person
Jean-Luc Godard loomed large over the ceremony - but not in person Photo: Festival de Cannes

Shoplifters is the story of a shoplifting father-and-son duo and the little girl they take in from the street. This is the filmmaker's fifth time in the Competition.

Godard’s The Image Book marks the veteran director’s return to Cannes four years after his previous feature Goodbye To Language won the jury prize. His latest project mixes fact and fiction to explore the contemporary Arab world.

Spike Lee, the grand prix winner, was back in the Competition for the first time since Jungle Fever played the Croisette in 1991. His new film is inspired by the true story of Ron Stallworth, an undercover African-American police officer who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan. John David Washington and Adam Driver star.

It was a 71st Cannes Film Festival that was beset by rows (over Netflix, red carpet selfies ban, new scheduling moans), post-Weinstein recriminations, questions about its future and unseasonably cold and wet weather.

Capernaum director Nadine Labaki earned the Jury Prize
Capernaum director Nadine Labaki earned the Jury Prize Photo: Festival de Cannes

Add to that travel plans hampered by strikes on the French railways and by Air France pilots, distinctly fewer people striding the Croisette (the palm lined seafront boulevard) and the absence of the usual quota of American studios (apart from Solo, the latest in the Star Wars saga) and the atmosphere was somewhat downbeat compared to the packed 70th anniversary bonanza last year.

Despite having only three titles from female directors strides were made on promoting women’s rights in the industry with a march by jury president Cate Blanchett, veteran director Agnès Varda and many others standing in solidarity on the steps of the Palais des Festivals. The recognition in the prizes of Capernaum by Nadine Labaki was very much in the spirit of Blanchett’s ethos. It is a third feature from Labaki and focuses on a rebellious teen who wishes to sue his parents for having him.

The ceremony was followed by the screening of the closing film, Terry Gilliam’s The Man Who Killed Don Quixote.

The awards in full:-

  • Palme d’Or : Shoplifters directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda
  • Special Palme d’Or : Jean-Luc Godard for The Image Book
  • Best Screenplay: (shared award) Alice Rohrwacher for Happy As Lazzaro and Jafar Panahi and Nader Saeivar for Three Faces
  • Best Actress: Samal Yeslyamova for Ayka
  • Best Actor: Marcello Fonte for Dogman
  • Best Director: Pawel Pawlikowski for Cold War
  • Jury Prize: Capernaum, directed by Nadine Labaki
  • Grand Prix: BlacKkKlansman, directed by Spike Lee

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