A tense courtroom drama about a writer accused of murdering her husband won the Palme d’Or at the 76th Cannes Film Festival, capping a strong year for female directors.
French director Justine Triet won the festival’s top prize on Saturday for the tense and chilling drama, Anatomy of a Fall, led by a powerful performance from German actress Sandra Hueller.
Triet criticized President Emmanuel Macron’s government in his acceptance speech for its “crackdown” on pension protests and its cultural policies.
“The commodification of culture that this neoliberal government supports is breaking down France’s cultural exception, without which I wouldn’t be here today,” she said.
Anatomy of a Fall, also featured an outstanding performance from “Messi” – the border collie who plays a central role in the film and won the Palm Dog award a day earlier.
There were a record seven women among the 21 entries in competition at Cannes this year, and many films featured complex female characters.
Hueller also starred in one of the competition’s most shocking films, The Zone of Interest, a harrowing and unique look into the private life of a Nazi family at Auschwitz concentration camp, which won the second Grand Price.
Cult British director Jonathan Glazer’s film – his first in 10 years – never directly showed the horrors of the camp, leaving them implied by disturbing background noises and small visual details.
Hueller coldly portrays the wife of the Nazi commander, happily tending to her garden and boasting of being “the queen of Auschwitz”.
Glazer thanked Martin Amis, the British novelist on whom the film was partly based, and who died a week ago just a day after the film’s premiere.
The jury of nine film professionals was led by last year’s winner Ruben Ostlund (Triangle of Sadness) and included Hollywood stars Paul Dano and Brie Larson.
“Fighting for His Life”
Best director went to Vietnamese-born French filmmaker Tran Anh Hung for, Le Pot-au-Feu, a brilliant tribute to French cuisine that was loved by many international critics but seemed to leave many local pundits cold.
He thanked his star Juliette Binoche, saying she was “pretty extraordinary in the film”.
The Best Actor award went to Japan’s Koji Yakusho for Perfect Days, who credited its German director Wim Wenders for creating “a magnificent character” with his touching story about a Tokyo toilet cleaner with a complex backstory. .
There was a surprise pick for best actress from Merve Dizdar in Turkey for, About Dry Grasses, the latest from former Palme winner Nuri Bilge Ceylan.
She said she played “someone who is fighting for her life and she overcame a lot of difficulties”.
“I live in a part of the country that gave me a good understanding of who she is,” she added.
It was a fitting statement in a strong year for women at Cannes.
Presenting the Palme d’Or, Hollywood legend Jane Fonda recalled the first time she came to Cannes in 1963.
“There were no female directors competing at the time and it never even occurred to us that there was anything wrong with that,” he said. she declared. “We have come a long way.”
Third place in the jury prize went to Aki Kaurismaki for his sweet, tongue-in-cheek and very Finnish film, Fallen Leaves, which drew praise from festival-goers.
The veteran director wasn’t in attendance, but his cast carried a short message saying he was “deeply honoured.”
The 76th edition of the world’s biggest cinematic event was a particularly auspicious affair, with world premieres for new films by Indiana Jones and Martin Scorsese out of competition.
Glazer received his award from Quentin Tarantino and 97-year-old director Roger Corman.
Corman’s appearance was appropriate since the festival often resembled a dreamy retirement home populated by aging Hollywood male icons.
Harrison Ford, 80, cried as he received an honorary Palme d’Or ahead of the premiere of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Fate.
Martin Scorsese, also 80, said he was happy to stay out of the competition with his Native American epic, Killers of the Flower Moon, joking to AFP, “It’s time for the others. go. There are children around.
European authors Ken Loach, 86, Marco Bellocchio, 83, and Victor Erice, 82, all brought new films to the festival.