The Cannes Film Festival closed with its own bit of drama, as French filmmaker Justine Triet took the top prize with “Anatomy of a Fall.”
The jury headed by Swedish director Ruben Ostlund included Brie Larson, Paul Dano and filmmaker Julia Ducornau, among others.
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Triet used the stage to speak out against French President Emmanuel Macron’s pension reforms and decry the government’s support, or lack thereof, of the cultural sector.
Triet said pushing the pension reform through despite weeks of protests was “shocking,” and displayed a “dominant, increasingly uninhibited pattern of power.”
“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 added, referring to the government-supported film funding system.
The prize was presented by Jane Fonda. Triet was so impassioned when she went to hug the jury members that she left her award scroll on the podium. Fonda jokingly threw it at her back.
For her part, Fonda took to the stage to speak about the changes she has seen in the festival since she began attending six decades ago. “There were no women directors, and it never even occurred to us that there was something wrong with that,” she said. “But we have a long way to go.”
Fonda cited the emerging directors honored at the previous nights Lights on Women award dinner, and the seven women in this year’s official competition.
“It is historic,” Fonda added. “But one day it will be normal.” Triet is the third woman to win the Palme d’Or in the festival’s history.
Triet’s win was considered a bit of an upset at a festival that had been buzzing about “Zone of Interest,” the haunting Holocaust film that depicts the everyday lives of those neighboring the Auschwitz concentration camp.
Director Jonathan Glazer received the festival’s grand prize, a silver medal of sorts, for the film. The director thanked the festival for the award “and amplifying cinema in a way only Cannes is able to.”
His award was presented by Quentin Tarantino and Roger Gorman.
John C. Reilly, who headed up the Un Certain Regard jury, came on stage and stood in uncomfortable silence for a minute or so. When awkward titters started to arise from the audience, he broke to deliver his point: “What we just experienced is what a movie would be like without screenwriters,” he said, to applause and making it clear where he stands on the writers’ strike. “A director may change the blocking, an actor my improvise dialogue, but in the beginning there is a plan. It is the map by which every journey is guided – screenwriting, a script.”
Reilly presented the screenwriting prize to Yuji Sakamoto, who penned “Monster” by director Hirokazu Kore-Eda.
The best directing prize went to Tran Ahn Hung, who helmed “The Pot-au-Feu,” starring Juliette Binoche, while the jury prize went to Finnish film “Fallen Leaves” from director Aki Kaurismaki.
The best acting prizes went to Merve Dizdar, for her role in Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s “About Dry Grasses,” and Koju Yakusho for his role in Wim Wenders’ “Perfect Days.”
The jury walked the red carpet for the last time at this festival, with jurors Larson and Ducornau displaying their fast friendship. The two walked hand-in-hand up part of the carpet, and Larson was quick to assist arranging Ducornau’s train to be picture perfect in front of the cameras.
Larson was clad in a white Chanel tank dress. She has been loyal to the house for the two weeks of the festival.
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