Cannes Film Festival: Justine Triet’s ‘Anatomy Of A Fall’ Wins Palme D’Or; Third Woman Ever To Take Top Prize

UPDATE: French filmmaker Justine Triet has become only the third woman to win the Cannes Film Festival’s top prize Palme d’Or in the event’s 76-year history, scooping the award for Anatomy of a Fall. She joins Jane Campion (1993’s The Piano), and, more recently, Julia Ducournau who won for Titane in 2021 (Ducournau was also on the jury this year).

Anatomy of a Fall follows Sandra (Sandra Hüller), a German writer, her French husband Samuel, and their eleven-year-old son Daniel who live a secluded life in a remote town in the French Alps. When Samuel is found dead in the snow below their chalet, the police question whether he committed suicide or was killed. Samuel’s death is treated as suspicious, presumed murder, and Sandra becomes the main suspect.

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In his review, Deadline’s Damon Wise called it “a cerebral smash” that “subvert(s) the pleasures of genre convention to explore issues of schadenfreude and plain morbid human curiosity.”

Neon picked it up during the festival, giving the distributor bragging rights to the four latest Palme d’Or winners including Triangle of Sadness, Titane and Parasite.

Triet was preceded on stage by Jane Fonda who spoke before jury president Ruben Ostlund announced the win. Said Fonda, “The last time I came (to the festival) was 1963, a lot of you weren’t even born yet… There were no women directors competing at that time and it never occurred to us there was something wrong with that… We have progressed, but we have a long way to go.” Still, she noted, perhaps presaging what was about to transpire, “We have to celebrate change when it happens. This year is the first time there are seven women directors in competition.”

Triet was emphatic in her acceptance, saying she couldn’t be content to only speak of the “joy” she felt, but also addressing the recent social unrest in France over retirement age reforms.

She said, “This year, our country has experienced a historic dispute… This dispute was denied and suppressed in a shocking manner, and this pattern of increasingly uninhibited dominating power is breaking out in several areas; obviously socially is where it is the most shocking, but we also see it in all spheres of society, and the cinema is no exception. The commodification of culture that the neo-liberal government is defending is breaking the French cultural exception. I dedicate this prize to all young female and male directors and to those who today are unable to make films. We see ourselves making room for them, this place that I took 15 years ago in a world that was a little less hostile which still considered it possible to make mistakes and start over.”

Earlier in the evening, Quentin Tarantino appeared on stage to introduce Roger Corman. The 97-year-old filmmaker and mentor to countless others, received a standing ovation and called Cannes “the most interesting film festival in the world.” To the audience, he said, “You are really lucky to be a part of it.”

Other winners included Jonathan Glazer’s The Zone of Interest which took the Grand Prize; Tran Anh Hung who scooped Best Director for The Pot-au-Feu; and an absent Aki Kaurismaki, whose Fallen Leaves was given the Jury Prize. (See below for the full list of winners.)

John C Reilly, meanwhile, introduced the prize for Best Screenplay (Yuji Sakamato, Monster) and, without directly mentioning it, made reference to the ongoing WGA strike. As he arrived on stage, he paused for a good while without saying anything. When he finally spoke, he said, “What we just experienced is what a movie would be like without screenwriters.”

PREVIOUS, 11:30AM PT: The 76th Cannes Film Festival is wrapping up this evening with the main awards, including the Palme d’Or, to be handed out by Ruben Ostlund’s jury inside the Palais. Scroll down for the list of winners which is being updated as prizes are announced.

It’s been a busy and buzzy fortnight here on the Riviera, kicking off with Johnny Depp-starrer Jeanne du Barry and continuing with the starry world premieres of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny and Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon, all out of competition. In the main race are 21 films including titles from high-profile filmmakers like Wes Anderson (Asteroid City) and Todd Haynes (May December) as well as previous Palme d’Or winners Nuri Bilge Ceylan (About Dry Grasses), Nanni Moretti (Il Sol Dell’Avvenire), Ken Loach (The Old Oak), Wim Wenders (Perfect Days) and Hirokazu Kore-eda (Monster).

Receiving among some of the best notices have been Jonathan Glazer’s The Zone of Interest, Alice Rohrwacher’s La Chimera and Aki Kaurismaki’s Fallen Leaves alongside Perfect Days and May December.

Still, it’s all up for grabs as Cannes juries are anything but predictable. This year’s includes two-time Palme d’Or laureate Ostlund as well as director Maryam Touzani, actor Denis Ménochet, writer/director Rungano Nyoni, actress/director Brie Larson, actor/director Paul Dano, writer Atiq Rahimi, director Damián Szifron and director Julia Ducournau.

We’ll know more in just a little bit, so check back as we update the winners below:

Palme d’Or
Anatomy of a Fall, dir: Justine Triet

Grand Prize
The Zone of Interest, dir: Jonathan Glazer

Best Director
Tranh Anh Hung, The Pot-au-Feu

Jury Prize
Fallen Leaves, dir: Aki Kaurismaki

Best Screenplay
Yuji Sakamato, Monster

Best Actress
Merve Dizdar, About Dry Grasses

Best Actor
Koji Yakusho, Perfect Days

Camera d’Or
Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell, dir: Thien An Pham

Short Film Palme d’Or
27, dir: Flóra Anna Buda

Special Mention:
Far, dir: Gunnur Martinsdottir Schluter

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