Justin Truyet’s “Anatomy of a Fall” won the Palme d’Or at the 76th Cannes Film Festival on Saturday in a ceremony that bestows the festival’s coveted top prize on a gripping, rigorously plotted French courtroom drama. that puts a marriage on trial.
“Anatomy of a Fall”, in which Sandra Hüller as a writer tries to prove her innocence in her husband’s death, is only the third film directed by a woman to win the Palme d’Or. One of the two previous winners, Julia Ducournau, was on this year’s jury.
Its second prize, the Cannes Grand Prix, went to Jonathan Glazer’s “The Zone of Interest,” a chilling Martin Amis adaptation about a German family living next to Auschwitz. Hüller also stars in that film.
The awards were decided by a jury chaired by two-time Palme winner Ruben Östlund, the Swedish director who won the award last year for “Triangle of Sadness.” The ceremony was preceded by the Pixar animation “Elemental”, the film of the closing night of the ceremony.
Notably, the award for “Anatomy of a Fall” gives indie distributor Neon its fourth straight Palme winner. Neon, which acquired the film after its premiere at Cannes, also backed “Triangle of Sadness”, Ducournau’s “Titan” and Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite”, which won Best Picture at the Academy Awards.
Triet was presented the Palme d’Or by Jane Fonda, who recalled coming to Cannes in 1963 when, she said, no women filmmakers were competing “and it never occurred to us that there was anything wrong with that”. ” A record seven of the 21 films in competition at Cannes this year were directed by women.
After loud applause, Triet, a 44-year-old French filmmaker, spoke passionately about the protests that have rocked France this year over reforms to pension plans and the retirement age. Several protests took place during Cannes this year, but demonstrations were – as they have been at several high-profile locations across France – restricted from the area around the Palais des Festivals. Protesters were largely dispersed to the outskirts of Cannes.
“Protests were stifled and repressed in a shocking way,” said Truitt, who linked that government influence to cinema. “The sale of culture, defended by a liberal government, is shattering the French cultural exception.”
“This award is dedicated to all young women directors and all young male directors and all those who cannot shoot films today,” he said. “We must give them the space that I occupied 15 years ago in a less hostile world where it was still possible to make mistakes and start again.”
After the ceremony, Treat considered being the third female director to win the Palme, after Ducournau and Jane Campion (“Piano”).
“Things are really changing,” she said.
Speaking to reporters, Triet was joined by his star Huller, whose performance was arguably the most acclaimed of the festival. (The festival encourages juries not to give films more than one award.) But “Anatomy of a Fall” pocketed another sought-after prize: the Palme Dog. The film’s border collie Snoop won Best Canine among the festival’s films.
The jury prize went to Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki’s “Fallen Leaves,” a dead-end love story about a romance that blossoms in a loveless weekday Helsinki where dispatches from the war in Ukraine regularly play on the radio.
The best actor award went to veteran Japanese star Koji Yakusho, who plays a contemplative, middle-aged Tokyo man who cleans toilets in Wim Wenders’ “Perfect Days,” a gentle, everyday character study.
Turkish actor Merv Dizdar won Best Actress for Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s “About Dry Grass”. Ceylan’s sprawling story is about Samet (Deniz Celiloglu), a teacher in icy eastern Anatolia, who is accused of misconduct by a young schoolgirl. Dizdar plays a friend both attracted and repelled by Samet.
Dizdar said, “I understand what it feels like to be a woman in this area of the country.” “I would like to dedicate this award to all the women who are fighting for survival and overcome difficulties in this world and re-train hope.”
Vietnamese-French director Tran Anh Hung took home best director for “Pot-au-Feu,” a lush, foodie love story starring Juliette Binoche and Benoit Magimel and set in a 19th-century French gourmet château.
Yuji Sakamoto won Best Screenplay for “Monster”. Sakamoto wrote Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s subtle drama with a changing perspective, about two boys struggling for acceptance in their school at home. “Monster” also won the Queer Palm, an honor awarded by journalists to the festival’s strongest LGBTQ-themed film.
Quentin Tarantino, who won Cannes’ top prize for “Pulp Fiction,” attended the ceremony to pay tribute to filmmaker Roger Corman. Tarantino praised Corman for giving him and countless moviegoers “unadulterated cinematic pleasure”.
“My cinema is uninhibited, full of excess and fun,” said Corman, an independent film maverick. “I feel like what Cannes is about.”
The festival’s Un Certain Regard section handed out its awards on Friday, giving the top prize to Molly Manning Walker’s debut feature, “How to Have Sex.”
Saturday’s ceremony drew to an end a Cannes edition that didn’t lack for pageantry, stars or controversy.
The biggest wattage came out of the premiere competition. Martin Scorsese debuts his Osage murder epic “Killers of the Flower Moon,” a towering vision of American exploitation with Leonardo DiCaprio and Lily Gladstone. “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” Harrison Ford’s indie farewell, begins with a tribute to Ford. Wes Anderson premieres “Asteroid City”.
The festival opened on a note of controversy. “Jeanne du Barry”, a period drama co-starring Johnny Depp as Louis XV, played as the opening night film. The premiere marked Depp’s highest-profile appearance since the conclusion of his explosives trial last year with ex-wife Amber Heard.
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