Who would succeed Parasite, of South Korean Bong Joon-ho, winner in 2019, before the coronavirus? This year, no favorite stood out clearly at the end of the 74e edition of the Cannes Film Festival – a well-kept vintage, which had no less than 24 films in official competition. After deliberation in an undisclosed location, the jury, chaired by American filmmaker Spike Lee – the first African-American artist to hold such a post – was able to reveal his prize list during the closing ceremony:
- Palme d’Or : Titanium, by Julia Ducournau;
- Grand Prize: A hero, by Asghar Farhadi, tied with Compartment no 6, by Juho Kuosmanen;
- Best Screenplay Award: Ryusuke Hamaguchi and Takamasa Oe, for Drive My Car ;
- Best Director Award: Leos Carax, for Annette ;
- Best Actor Award: Caleb Landry Jones, for Nitram ;
- Best Actress Award: Renate Reinsve, for Julie (in 12 chapters) ;
- Jury Prize: Ahed’s Knee, by Nadav Lapid, tied with Memoria, of Apichatpong Weerasethakul;
- Palme d’or of honor: Marco Bellocchio;
- Palme d’or for short film: All the crows in the world, by Tang Yi;
- Golden Camera: Murina, by Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic.
The Cannes Film Festival struck a blow by crowning Julia Ducournau and her furiously contemporary work, Titanium – the Frenchwoman becoming the second director in the history of the Festival to receive the Palme d’Or.
Twenty-eight years later The Piano Lesson, by Jane Campion, first award-winning director, the jury chaired by Spike Lee comes to reward the youngest of the competition (37 years old). The New York filmmaker had also blundered and making this announcement straight away, when he was supposed to announce the prize for male interpretation …
We came close to disaster and a somewhat premature announcement of the Palme d’Or 😱 # Cannes2021 https://t.co/8uBfYl2orI
Cannes sends a major signal through this prize list
Palme d’Or in her hands, Julia Ducournau warmly thanked the jury for “Recognized the greedy and visceral need we have for a more fluid and inclusive world”.
“Thank you to the jury for calling for more diversity in our experiences in the cinema and in our lives and thank you also to the jury for letting the monsters in”, added the 37-year-old French director and big fan of horror films, in tears on stage.
Cannes thus sends a major signal to an industry that has been questioning itself more than ever, for four years, about the place of women within it and about gender equality, in the wake of the Weinstein affair and then of the movement # MeToo.
Julia Ducournau on the verge of tears during her speech as the emotion is strong. Now you have no more … https://t.co/zw7JEbuC4j
Only four female directors were in competition this year, for 24 films in total. Coming back to Titanium, the most prestigious prize rewards a transgressive and pioneering cinema, imbued with feminism. The Frenchwoman’s film, which is not intended for all audiences, mixes hybridization between a woman and a machine, love for cars and the quest for paternity. It was there the most violent film of the competition, which will have done anything but unanimity among the critics. Julia Ducournau stages a bluffing newcomer, Agathe Rousselle, alongside French actor Vincent Lindon, who plays a firefighter on steroids.
The director had already left a memorable memory in Cannes with her first feature film, Serious, a story of a student in veterinary medicine who becomes a cannibal, which allowed her to become the leader of a revival of the tricolor genre film. Across the Atlantic, she was dubbed by a horror master, M. Night Shyamalan.
Distinguished directors Leos Carax and Marco Bellocchio
The French director Leos Carax, meanwhile, was awarded the director’s prize on Saturday for Annette, an abundant and virtuoso rock opera that makes two stars shine, Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard. Nine years later Holy Motors, Leos Carax won at the age of 60 one of the highest distinctions in Cannes for this cinematographic fireworks display, co-written and set to music by the American group Sparks, which opened the festival, celebrating with great pomp the reunion of the world cinema.
Filmmaker Marco Bellocchio also received an honorary Palme d’Or, which crowns five decades of a committed career. The Italian director had also presented a very personal documentary sparing neither the army nor religion, Marx can wait, in a parallel selection of the Festival.
After the thrill of the winners, the Croisette will be able to unwind. Cannes is showing as a closing and preview the most anticipated French comedy of the summer, OSS 117: red alert in black Africa, signed Nicolas Bedos, with Jean Dujardin, Pierre Niney and Fatou N’Diaye.