Femme power to the fore in Cannes Palme d’Or winner

Justine Triet becomes only the third woman to receive the top prize

by Richard Mowe

The Cannes winners line up with Palme d’Or winner Justine Triet, centre holding aloft her trophy
The Cannes winners line up with Palme d’Or winner Justine Triet, centre holding aloft her trophy Photo: Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival
French director Justine Triet has emerged as only the third woman to win the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or for her legal drama Anatomy Of A Fall in which Sandra Hüller plays a novelist accused of murdering her husband.

Her prize was presented by Jane Fonda who noted that the award represented how far Cannes has come in setting a record for female representation. Seven women directors were in the competition this year.

The Grand Prix was given to The Zone Of Interest by Jonathan Glazer, an adaptation of the Second World War novel by Martin Amis, who died during the festival on the same day as the film's first screening, It depicts the private life of a German commandant (Christian Friedel) responsible for executing countless Jews at Auschwitz.

It was, as ever, a Cannes of contrasts with big budget blockbusters such as the opener Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny sharing screens with such esoteric fare as Glazer’s Grand Prix winner. Ruben Östlund’s jury had their work cut out in the choice of the wide-ranging winners.

Some titles such as Martin Scorsese’s (out of competition) Killers OF The Flower Moon combined epic visuals and running time with a sharply focussed story of the Osage Nation of American Indians and their exploitation by the incomers among them Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio as conniving uncle and nephew.

Anatomy Of A Fall
Anatomy Of A Fall Photo: Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival
There was whimsy aplenty on offer in Wes Anderson’s starry Asteroid City about an astronomers’ convention in the desert in the 1950s. And a greedy for attention Wim Wenders had double exposure with a documentary portrait of the painter Anselm Kiefer as well as Perfect Days, his first film to be directed in Japanese and dealing with the unlikely subject of a Tokyo public lavatory cleaner which confounded expectations.

The usual Cannes bugbears waxed and waned with regularity. One day the electronic ticketing system seemed to produce all the requests everyone wanted, while the next it irritatingly posted “Complet” (full). Journalists muttered about extra early rises to have a finger poised on the booking button when it opened. For four days queues were squelchy affairs under grey skies and battles of umbrellas. The alternative was baking to a crisp under the sun with blue skies.

Tempers were fractious as the days plodded by - and even mild-mannered artistic director Thierry Frémaux lost it when he was accosted by the police for using the wrong lane on his daily cycle on an official work bike from the Carlton Hotel to the Palais des Festivals. Inevitably a video of the altercation went viral on social media with Frémaux remonstrating along the lines: “Don’t you know who I am?".

At least the threatened black-outs by the French power unions failed to materialise as the Festival proudly trumpeted its eco-credentials with a “green” tax on all participants.

Cannes winners

  • Palme D’or: Anatomy Of A Fall (Anatomie D'une Chute) - Justine Triet
  • Grand Prix: The Zone Of Interest - Jonathan Glazer
  • Best Director: Tran Anh Hùng for The Pot-Au-Feu (La Passion De Dodin Bouffant/The Taste Of Things)
  • Jury Prize: Fallen Leaves (Kuolleet Lehdet) - Aki Kaurismäki
  • Best Screenplay: Sakamoto Yuji for Monster (Kaibutsu), directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda
  • Best Performance by An Actress: Merve Dizdar in About Dry Grasses (Kuru Otlar Ustune) directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan
  • Best Performance by An Actor: Kōji Yakusho In Perfect Days Directed By Wim Wenders
  • Caméra D'or - Inside The Yellow Cocoon Shell (Ên Trong Vo Ken Vang Pham) directed by Thien An
  • L’œil D'or - Year Of The Documentary (Ex Aequo) - Four Daughters (Les Filles D’olfa) directed by Kaouther Ben Hania and The Mother Of All Lies (Kadib Abyad) directed by Asmae El Moudir

Short Films

  • Palme D'or: 27 - Flóra Anna Buda
  • Special Mention: Intrustion /(Fár) - Gunnur Martinsdóttir Schlüter

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