Cannes dominated by women as 'Anatomy of a Fall' wins top prize

French director Justine Triet celebrates on stage after winning the Palme d'Or during the closing ceremony of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France. (Photo: Valery Hache/AFP)

A courtroom drama about a writer accused of murdering her spouse won the Palme d'Or at the 76th Cannes Film Festival, capping a successful year for female directors.

Anatomy of a Fall, a taut and icy drama directed by the French filmmaker Justine Triet and starring the German actress Sandra Hueller, claimed the festival's top prize on Saturday.

In her acceptance speech, Triet criticized the government of President Emmanuel Macron for its "repression" of pension protests and its cultural policies.

"The commercialization of culture that this neoliberal government supports is in the process of breaking France's cultural exception, without which I wouldn't be here today," she said.

Anatomy of a Fall featured an outstanding performance by "Messi," the border collie who plays a pivotal role in the film and won the Palm Dog award the day before.

There were a record seven women among the 21 entries in this year's Cannes competition, and numerous films featured complex female characters.

Hueller also starred in one of the most startling films of the competition, The Zone of Interest, a rugged and original look at the private life of a Nazi family at the Auschwitz concentration camp that won the Grand Prix for second place.

The cult British director Jonathan Glazer's first film in ten years never explicitly depicted the horrors of the concentration camp, instead leaving them implied by disturbing background noises and minute visual details.

Hueller portrays the wife of the Nazi commandant chillingly as she tends to her garden while boasting that she is "the queen of Auschwitz."

Martin Amis, the British novelist on whom the film was partially based and who died a week ago, the day after the film's premiere, was thanked by Glazer.

The nine-member jury was led by last year's winner, Ruben Ostlund (Triangle of Sadness), and included Hollywood actors Paul Dano and Brie Larson.

'Fighting For Her Life'

The award for best director went to French filmmaker of Vietnamese descent Tran Anh Hung for The Pot-au-Feu, a lustrous ode to French cuisine that was adored by many international critics but left many local critics chilly.

He acknowledged his leading lady Juliette Binoche, stating she was "remarkable" in the film.

Best actor was awarded to Japan's Koji Yakusho for Perfect Days, who commended his German director Wim Wenders for creating "a magnificent character" with his touching story about a Tokyo toilet cleaner with a complicated past.

About Dry Grasses, the most recent film from previous Palme d'Or recipient Nuri Bilge Ceylan was won by Turkey's Merve Dizdar, a choice that came as a surprise.

She said she portrayed "someone who is fighting for her life and has overcome many obstacles."

She added, "I live in a region of the country that allowed me to comprehend who she is full."

It was an appropriate statement during a successful year for women in Cannes.

During her presentation of the Palme d'Or, Hollywood legend Jane Fonda recalled her first trip to Cannes in 1963.

"At the time, no women directors were competing, and it never occurred to us that something was wrong with that," she said. "We have come a very long way."

'Deeply Honored'

Aki Kaurismaki was awarded the third-place Jury Prize for his film Fallen Leaves, which elicited enthusiastic applause from festival attendees.

The seasoned director was absent, but his actors conveyed a brief message that he was "deeply honored."

Out of competition, the new Indiana Jones and Martin Scorsese films had their world première at the 76th edition of the most prestigious film festival in the world.

Glazer received his award from Quentin Tarantino and Roger Corman, who is 97 years old.

Corman's appearance was appropriate, as the festival frequently resembled a retirement community filled with aging Hollywood masculine icons.

Harrison Ford, 80 years old, was overcome with emotion upon receiving an honorary Palme d'Or before the premiere of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.

Also, 80 years old, Martin Scorsese joked to AFP, "It's time for others to compete with my Native American epic, Killers of the Flower Moon. I got to go. There are children nearby."

Ken Loach, 86, Marco Bellocchio, 83, and Victor Erice, 82, introduced new films to the festival.

Publish : 2023-05-28 07:56:00

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