Julia Ducournau won the prestigious Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival on Saturday, a remarkable feat considering it’s only her second feature film. Like when she debuted, Original, her latest film is classified as a “physical horror”, in which the victim of a car accident has sex with a car. Paris-born Ducournau is the second female director to win the festival’s top prize, after Jane Campion in 1993 for Piano. Cast Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux also co-awarded the Palme with their director Abdellatif Kechiche for the movie Blue is the warmest color in 2013. (Cannes is allowed to make such rules, and that’s why Cannes is the biggest.)
Audiences who came to the grand Louis Lumière auditorium to applaud the winners of the 2021 Cannes Film Festival also bravely took measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus during the busy 12-day event. (One can hardly imagine Brigitte Bardot or Marcello Mastroianni spit in a cup before its premiere.) The film festival, normally held in May, was canceled entirely in 2020 due to the pandemic, the first such cancellation since World War Two.
Chairman of the jury Spike Lee stupid during the ceremony and announced the first winner. When prompted to read the champion “first prize”, he misunderstood what he meant.
Earlier, Lee joked that he intends to be a benevolent leader during the grading process. “I promised the jurors that I wouldn’t become a dictator, that I would be a democrat…but only up to a point!” he say. Director and actor whose film was in 2018, BlacKkKlansman won the Grand Prix (basically second prize) reminding the audience that “if the judges divide four against four, it’s up to me to decide.”
His fellow juries include the director Mati Diop, singer-songwriter Mylene Farmer, Maggie Gyllenhaal, writer-director Jessica Hauser, Melanie Laurent, director Kleber Mendonca Filho, cast Tahar Rahimand Song Kang-Ho, the star of the 2019 Palme d’Or winner Parasites.
Boldness Titane selected from 24 films in competition (less than a quarter of the films premiered at Cannes this year). It has won over a class of world cinema’s heavyweights, including previous Palme winners like Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Jacques Audiardand Nanni Morettiand back candidates Paul Verhoeven, Wes Anderson, Leos Carax, Sean Bakerand Mia Hansen-Løve.
Titane marks the first time a horror picture has won the award, although one might be worthy of Shōhei Imamura’s 1983 film Ballad by Narayama.
The Grand Prix, ostensibly second place, was a draw (not unheard of) awarded to Iran Asghar Farhadi for A hero and of Finland Juho Kuosmanen for Drawer No. 6. The Jury Prize, the bronze medal of sorts, is also a tie between Israel Nadav Lapid for Ahed’s Knee and Weerasethakul of Thailand for Tilda Swinton-led Memoria.
Best Director goes to Leos Carax for the musical Annette, written by Ron and Russell Mael of the band Sparks and the lead actor Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard.
The best actress is awarded to a Norwegian actress Renate Reinsve for her work in Joachim Trierdark romantic comedy The World’s Worst Person. The best leading actor was awarded Caleb Landry Jones for Justin KurzelAustralian horror movies Nitram, making him the first Mutant to receive such an honor. Jones has seem too nervous to receive the award, he muttered, “I can’t do this,” and left the stage. (After a year we’ve had, this feels relevant.)
In the end, the Best Screenplay award went to Japan Ryusuke Hamaguchi and Takamasa Oe for Hamaguchi’s Drive my car, based on a 2014 Haruki Murakami short story.
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