The 70th Cannes Film Festival officially came to a close this past Sunday, and while insiders claim that his festival was “a bit of a dud,” my outsider’s perspective thinks this may have been one of the best festivals in years.
The biggest controversy came when the Palme d’Or, the French’s highest honor, was given to The Square, Ruben Östlund’s follow-up to 2014’s Force Majeure. The film is a satire on the contemporary art world, filled with sharp, intelligent humor not unlike last year’s Toni Erdmann. The film was well-received, but most people thought the award would go to the innovative AIDS drama 120 Beats Per Minute (BPM). That film was awarded the runner up Grand Prix award in a provocative decision. Both should be considered frontrunners for this year’s Best Foreign Language Film Award.
After that, the big winner was probably Lynne Ramsey’s follow-up to We Need To Talk About Kevin, You Were Never Really Here. Something of a Taxi Driver-esque thriller, the film tells the story of a traumatized war vet who sets out to rescue a young girl from a sex trafficking ring. The film was a huge smash, and it took home two awards, one for its lead actor Joaquin Phoenix, who seemed legitimately shocked when he won, and one for Best Screenplay. It shared that screenplay award with The Killing of the Sacred Deer by the twisted genius Yorgos Lanthimos. And the big award for Best Director, in a wild twist, went to Sofia Coppola for The Beguiled. Coppola is the first woman to win this award in history, and it’s great to see her win in a year full of great female filmmakers, even if none managed to win the Palme. The divorce drama Loveless ended up taking the jury prize.
I’m sure there were some people shocked to learn that Diane Kruger won Best Actress, not because she was undeserving, but because the film was received coldly, and actress Nicole Kidman was in about five other films at the festival, each better than the last. Well, that wasn’t lost on the jury, who created a special 70th Anniversary prize just for her. Well received films Happy End, Okja, The Meyerowitz Stories, Wonderstruck, and L’amant double all went home empty handed, while A Man of Integrity and Wind River were amongst the big winners in the Un Certain Regard section. I’ll have a full write-up on the Best of Cannes later this week. Until then, you can look at the list of winners below.
Palme d’Or: The Square
Grand Prix: 120 Beats per Minute
Best Director: Sofia Coppola-The Beguiled
Best Screenplay: You Were Never Really Here and The Killing of the Sacred Deer (TIE)
Best Actress: Diane Kruger-In The Fade
Best Actor: Joaquin Phoenix-You Were Never Really Here
Jury Prize: Loveless
70th Anniversary Prize: Nicole Kidman
Un Certain Regard Award: A Man of Integrity
Un Certain Regard Jury Prize: April’s Daughter
Un Certain Regard Award for Best Director: Taylor Sheridan-Wind River
Un Certain Regard for Best Performance: Jasmine Trinca-Fortunata
The Poetry of Cinema Award: Barbara