At Justine Triet Anatomy of a fall won the Palme d’Or at the 76th Cannes Film Festival on Saturday in a ceremony that awarded the festival’s prestigious top prize to a gripping and tightly plotted French legal drama that puts a marriage on trial.
Anatomy of a fall, which stars Sandra Hller as a writer trying to prove her innocence in her husband’s death, is only the third female-directed film to win the Palme d’Or. One of the two previous winners, Julia Ducournau, was part of the jury this year.
The Cannes Grand Prix, his second prize, went to Jonathan Glazer The area of interest, a chilling adaptation by Martin Amis about a German family living near Auschwitz. Hller also plays in this film.
The prizes were awarded by a jury chaired by two-time Palme winner Ruben Stlund, the Swedish director who won the award last year for triangle of sadness. The ceremony preceded the festival’s closing film, the Pixar animation Elementary.
Remarkably, the price of Anatomy of a fall gives independent distributor Neon its fourth consecutive award. Neon, who acquired the film after its Cannes premiere, also backed triangle of sadnessby Ducournau Titanium and Bong Joon Ho Parasitewhich he steered to an Oscar-winning best picture.
Triet received the Palme from Jane Fonda, who remembers coming to Cannes in 1963 when, she says, there were no female filmmakers competing “and it never even occurred to us that there was something wrong with that.” This year, a record seven of the 21 films in competition at Cannes were directed by women.
After an enthusiastic ovation, Triet, the 44-year-old French filmmaker, spoke passionately about the protests that shook France this year on pension system and retirement age reforms. Several demonstrations have taken place in Cannes this year, but demonstrations were, as they have been in many high-profile venues across France, banned in the area around the Palais des Festivals. Protesters were largely relegated to the outskirts of Cannes.
“Protests were shockingly denied and suppressed,” said Triet, who linked this government influence to that of cinema. “The commodification of culture, championed by a liberal government, is breaking down the French cultural exception.”
“This award is dedicated to all young female directors and all young male directors and to all those who are unable to make films today,” she added. “You have to give them the place I occupied 15 years ago in a less hostile world where it was still possible to make mistakes and start over.”
After the ceremony, Triet thinks about being the third director to win the Palme, after Ducournau and Jane Campion (The piano).
“Things are really changing,” she said.
Speaking to reporters, Triet was joined by her star, Hller, whose performance was arguably the most acclaimed of the festival. (The festival encourages juries not to award more than one award to films.) But Anatomy of a fall bagged another coveted prize: Palm dog. The honor for best canine in the festival films went to the film’s border collie, Snoop.
The jury prize was awarded to Finnish director Aki Kaurismki Dead leavesa tongue-in-cheek love story about a romance that blossoms in a loveless Helsinki where dispatches from the war in Ukraine are regularly on the radio.
Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP
Best actor went to veteran Japanese star Koji Yakusho, who plays a thoughtful middle-aged man from Tokyo who cleans toilets in Wim Wenders perfect daysa gentle, everyday character study.
Turkish actor Merve Dizdar won Best Actress for Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s About Dry Grasses. Ceylon’s long story is set in snowy eastern Anatolia about a teacher, Samet (Deniz Celilolu), who is accused of misconduct by a young student. Dizdar plays a friend both attracted and repelled by Samet.
“I understand what it’s like to be a woman in this part of the country,” Dizdar said. “I would like to dedicate this prize to all the women who fight to exist and overcome the difficulties of this world and to restore hope.”
Franco-Vietnamese director Trn Anh Hng won the Best Director award for Pot au feu, a lush, gourmet love story starring Juliette Binoche and Benot Magimel and set in a 19th-century French gourmet chateau.
Best Screenplay was won by Yuji Sakamoto for Freak. Sakamoto penned Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s nuanced drama, with shifting perspectives, about two boys struggling to be accepted into their homeschool. Freak also won the Queer Palm, an honor bestowed by journalists for the festival’s strongest LGBTQ-themed film.
Quentin Tarantino, who won the top prize at Cannes for pulp Fiction, attended the ceremony to award a tribute to filmmaker Roger Corman. Tarantino praised Corman for filling him and countless moviegoers with “pure movie enjoyment”.
“My cinema is uninhibited, full of excess and fun,” said independent film maverick Corman. “I feel what Cannes is.”
The Un Certain Regard section of the festival presented its awards on Friday, awarding the first prize to Molly Manning Walker’s first feature film, how to have sex.
Saturday’s ceremony closed a Cannes edition which did not lack spectacle, stars or controversy.
The greatest power firsts have come out of the competition. Martin Scorsese launched his epic on the Osage murders The Moonflower Slayersa sprawling vision of American exploitation with Leonardo DiCaprio and Lily Gladstone. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Fate, Harrison Ford’s Indy farewell, launched with a tribute to Ford. Wes Anderson created city of asteroids.
The festival opened on a note of controversy. Jeanne du Barry, a period drama starring Johnny Depp as Louis XV, played as the opening night film. The premiere marked Depp’s most high-profile appearance since the conclusion of his explosive trial last year with ex-wife Amber Heard.
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