A tense courtroom drama about a writer accused of murdering her husband won the Palme d’Or at the 76th Cannes Film Festival, marking a successful year for female directors.
French director Justine Triet won the festival’s top prize on Saturday for her tense and chilling drama, Anatomy of a Fall, led by German actress Sandra Hueller.
Triet criticized President Emmanuel Macron’s government in her acceptance speech for “suppressing” protests over pensions and its cultural policies.
“The commercialization of culture that this neo-liberal government advocates is in the process of breaking down the French cultural exception, without which I would not be here today,” she said. .
Anatomy of a Fall also featured a stellar performance by “Messi,” the border collie that played a pivotal role in the film, and had won the Palm Dog the day before.
There are a record seven women out of 21 films competing at Cannes this year, and many feature complex female characters.
Hueller also starred in one of the competition’s most shocking films, The Zone of Interest, a unique and heartbreaking look into the private life of a Nazi family at Auschwitz concentration camp. The film won the Grand Prix runner-up.
Hit British director Jonathan Glazer’s films – his first in 10 years – have never shown the horrors of the camp directly, making them hinted at by unsettling ambient noises and disturbing scenes. Small image details.
Hueller coldly portrays the wife of the Nazi commander, happily tending her garden and boasting that she is “the queen of Auschwitz”.
Glazer thanks Martin Amis, the British novelist on which the film is partly based, and who passed away a week ago just a day after the film was released.
The jury of nine film experts is led by last year’s winner Ruben Ostlund (Triangle of Sadness), and includes Hollywood stars Paul Dano and Brie Larson.
‘Fighting for her life’
Best director went to French-Vietnamese filmmaker Tran Anh Hung for The Pot-au-Feu, a flashy tribute to French cuisine loved by many international critics but seemingly out of reach. Many local experts are cold.
He thanked his star Juliette Binoche, saying she was “quite phenomenal in the movie”.
Best Actor went to Japan’s Koji Yakusho for Perfect Days, who thanked German director Wim Wenders for creating “a great character” with a moving story about a house cleaner. toilet in Tokyo with a complicated plot.
There was a surprise pick for best actress in Turkish Merve Dizdar for About Dry Grasses, the latest work from previous Palme d’Or winner Nuri Bilge Ceylan.
She said she played “someone who is fighting for her life and she’s overcome a lot of hardships.”
She added: “I live in a part of the country that helps me fully understand who she is.
It’s a fitting statement in a strong women’s year at Cannes.
Presenting the Palme d’Or, Hollywood legend Jane Fonda recalls her first visit to Cannes in 1963.
“There were no competitive female directors at the time, and we never even thought there was something wrong with that,” she said. “We’ve come a long way.”
‘That is a pleasure’
The third prize of the Jury went to Aki Kaurismaki for his sweet, monotonous and very Finnish film, Fallen Leaves, which received a standing ovation from the festival attendees.
The veteran director was not present, but his actors carried a short message saying he was “deeply honored”.
The 76th edition of the world’s top movie gathering is a particularly flashy event, with world premieres for new Indiana Jones and Martin Scorsese movies uncompetitive.
Glazer received the award from Quentin Tarantino and 97-year-old director Roger Corman.
Corman’s appearance is appropriate because the festival is often like a dream retirement home for aging male idols from Hollywood.
Harrison Ford, 80, cried as he accepted the honorary Palme d’Or before the premiere of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.
Martin Scorsese, also 80, said he was happy not to be in competition with the Native American epic, Killers of the Flower Moon, joking to AFP: “It’s time for the others. I have to go. There are kids around.”
European directors Ken Loach, 86, Marco Bellocchio, 83, and Victor Erice, 82, all brought new films to the festival.