Cannes joy for Triangle Of Sadness

Östlund takes second Palme d'Or, with Dhont and Denis among prizes

by Richard Mowe

Triangle Of Sadness
Triangle Of Sadness Photo: Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

For the second time Swedish director Ruben Östlund has scooped the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival with Triangle of Sadness, a caustic satire about the rich and famous which divided opinion but ultimately triumphed.

Östlund who previously won the prize with The Square, managed to inveigle the closing night audience to make “a primal scream of happiness” to show their appreciation for all those involved in the film. He was among many directors to make the point that after the pandemic it was great to be able to share the unique thing about cinema - “to watch and talk about a film together.”

Ruben Östlund with his Palme d'Or
Ruben Östlund with his Palme d'Or Photo: © L. Venance/AFP for Festival de Cannes
Belgian director Lukas Dhont with his second film Close and who shared the grand prix with veteran Claire Denis (Stars at Noon), dedicated his award to those who choose “love over fear.” His affecting film portrays a rift in friendship between two 13-year-old friends.

Park Chan-Wook from Korea took the best director honours for his nail-biting thriller Decision to Leave.

In an evening in which Belgium scored highly Belgian co-directors Felix Van Groeningen and Charlotte Vandermeersch shared the jury prize for The Eight Mountains. Polish veteran Jerzy Skolimowski’s EO dedicated the shared jury award to his film donkeys - “all six of them.”

And in the jury awarded a special prize, unique to the 75th anniversary, to Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne for the heart-breaking Tori & Lokita about a pair of African immigrants who pass as brother and sister while trying to get their immigration papers.

The best screenplay accolade was bestowed on Egyptian director Zar Amir-Ebrahim for the controversial Boy From Heaven, shot in Turkey after he was banned from making it in Egypt. He dedicate his prize “to the young filmmakers in Egypt” and urged them “to raise your voices and tell your stories.”

The acting prizes went to Zar Amir-Ebrahimi, who plays an Iranian reporter riskingher own life to catch a serial killer in Holy Spider and Korean actor Song King-ho (who starred in Parasite) for his part in Broker in which he plays a man selling babies on the black market. The was directed by Japanese director Kore-eda Hirokazu.

Lukas Dhont
Lukas Dhont
The Camera d’Or prize for best first film was given to War Pony by Gina Gammell and Riley Keough. It deals with two young men from the Oglala Lakota tribe and was made in close collaboration with the Native American community it depicts.

The Camera d’Or jury pinpointed another debut, and gave a special mention to Japanese director Hayakawa Chie’s Plan 75, which imagines a future in which elderly citizens can elect to be euthanised.

Xavier Bardem who presented the grand prix prizes said that “after years of hesitation and doubt we have regained our desire to enjoy and celebrate cinema together.”

After two disrupted years due to the pandemic the 75th edition felt as if the organisers had managed to steer the Festival back on course. It felt almost as if normality had returned with the exception for different reasons of participants from Russia and China.

After early battles with a gremlin-hit electronic ticketing system which caused angst in media circles and among the buyers in the market the issues mainly were resolved as the first week progressed.

There was a hefty dollop of star power from Tom Cruise and entourage for the premiere of the hotly awaited Top Gun: Maverick vying for attention with Baz Luhrmann’s pulsating Elvis biopic. To keep the star spotters happy a phalanx of names nightly strode the red carpet among them Sharon Stone, Helen Mirren, Tom Hanks, Forest Whittaker, Mads Mikelsen, Woody Harrelson, Tilda Swinton, Idris Elba, Julianne Moore, Marion Cotillard, Léa Seydoux and a surprise appearance (on screen) by Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Although mask wearing was suggested by the authorities most attendees eschewed the advice and sashayed bare-faced into screenings, restaurants and beach parties. Festival staff, on the other hand, were masked up to instil confidence. In the Palais des Festivals’ subterranean market place deals were being done as if Covid had never happened and cinemas were back on full throttle and the hotels were buzzing with executives seeking funding or simply catching up with colleagues.

The jury comprised: French actor Vincent Lindon (President), who won Cannes best actor honours in 2015 for The Measure of a Man and starred in last year’s Palme d’Or winner Titane; Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, actor-director Rebecca Hall; French director Ladj Ly; American director Jeff Nichols; Indian actor-producer Deepika Padukone; Swedish star Noomi Rapace; Norwegian director Joachim Trier and Italian actor-director Jasmine Trinca.

Competition

  • Palme d’Or: Triangle of Sadness by Ruben Östlund
  • Grand Prix: Shared: Close by Lukas Dhont and Stars At Noon by Claire Denis
  • Director: Decision To Leave by Park Chan-Wook
  • Actor: Song Kang-ho for Broker
  • Actress: Zar Amir-Ebrahimi for Holy Spider
  • Special Prize for the 75th Anniversary: Jean-Pierre and Lucas Dardenne for Tori and Lokita
  • Jury Prize: The Eight Mountains by Charlotte Vandermeersch and Felix Van Groeningen
  • Screenplay: Tarik Saleh, Boy From Heaven
  • Short Film Palme d’Or: The Water Murmurs, Jianying Chen
  • Short Film Special Mention: Lori, Abinash Bikram Shah

Other Prizes

  • Camera d’Or: War Horse, Gina Gammell and Riley Keough
  • Camera d’Or Special Mention: Plan 75, Hayakawa Chie

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