Swedish-born Ruben Ostlund walked away with his second Palme d’Or for his Triangle of Sadness bringing the 75th edition of the Cannes Film Festival to a close on Saturday night (May 28). In 2017, he won Cannes’ top prize for The Square.
Triangle of Sadness is a biting satire in which a group of rich, famous but shallow people are taken in a boat and abandoned in deep seas. The survivors get onto an island and try to rebuild their lives. There is no money power there, and good looks and beauty become the most valuable assets there. The nine-member jury headed by Vincent Lindon distributed the prizes among 10 movies – which meant just about half of the 21 in the Competition were honoured. But did they really deserve it?
The Guardian film critic, Peter Bradshaw, sums it up nicely. “Well, maybe this is the film (Triangle of Sadness) the world needs now: discomfort-food cinema, feelbad cinema, but also cinema that doesn’t upset us too much and flatters our sense of who the bad guys are. We need a movie about a bunch of obnoxious rich idiots on a boat heading for nowhere and who deserve to die, a film that expresses our cynical and exhausted dismissal of the world, but also something that doesn’t challenge our own sensibilities too much. That’s the mood we’re all in and maybe Triangle of Sadness addresses that mood. Triangle of Sadness could well be speaking to the zeitgeist, but not as interestingly (or as originally) as it thinks.”
Claire Denis with Stars at Noon and Lukas Dhont with Close shared the Grand Prize. Denis explores the adventures of an American journalist who is trying desperately to get out of Nicaragua with the help of a stranger. Close is a moving piece of work about two teenagers, who tragically drift away from each other. It brought tears to many.
South Korea’s Park Chan-Wook was adjudged the Best Director for his Hitchcockian thriller, Decision to Leave. A cop wakes up when the second husband of a woman he thought was innocent also dies in a mysterious way.
Every five years, Cannes gives a Special Award; this time it went to two-time Palme d’Or winners Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne for their film “Tori & Lokita,” about two Ghanian immigrants striving to make ends meet in Belgium.
In another tie, the Jury Prize went to both “The Eight Mountains” and “EO.” Co-directed by Belgian couple Félix Van Groeningen and Charlotte Vandermeersch, “The Eight Mountains” tracks the friendship between two Italian boys — one from the city, the other a shepherd from the Alps — across decades. EO traces the journey of donkeys across Europe that face cruelty from humans. “I would like to thank my donkeys, all six of them,” director Skolimowski said.
The Screenplay trophy went to Swedish-born Tarik Saleh for Boy from Heaven – about a conspiracy (perhaps imagined) by the Egyptian Government in the appointment of a grand imam. The shoot was banned in Egypt, and so it had to be done in Turkey. “I want to dedicate this prize to the young moviemakers in Egypt, to raise your voices and tell your stories,” Saleh said accepting the prize.
The Best Actress honours went to Zar Amir-Ebrahimi, who portrays an Iranian reporter risking her life to catch a serial killer in Holy Spider. The plot is based on an actual incident involving a respectable man who kills prostitutes because he wants to clean up the society.“I have come a long way to be on this stage. It was humiliation [and] darkness, but there was cinema,” said Amir-Ebrahimi, who commended director Ali Abbasi for confronting all those things that can’t be done in Iranian cinema. ”It practically saved my life, and I know it will save lives again.”
The Best Actor honour went to Korean star, Song Kang-ho for Broker in which he essays a man who sells abandoned babies on the black market in Japanese director Kore-eda Hirokazu’s first Korean-made feature.
Full list of prizes:
Palme d’Or: “Triangle of Sadness,” Ruben Östlund
Grand Prix — “Stars at Noon,” Claire Denis AND “Close,” Lukas Dhont
Director: Park Chan-wook, “Decision to Leave”
75th Anniversary Special Award: Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, “Tori & Lokita”
Actor: Song Kang-ho, “Broker”
Actress: Zar Amir-Ebrahimi, “Holy Spider”
Jury Prize — “The Eight Mountains,” Félix Van Groeningen and Charlotte Vandermeersch AND “EO,” Jerzy Skolimowski
Screenplay: Tarik Saleh, “Boy From Heaven”
Camera d’Or: “War Horse,” Gina Gammell and Riley Keough
Camera d’Or Special Mention: “Plan 75,” Hayakawa Chie
UN CERTAIN REGARD
Un Certain Regard Award: “The Worst Ones,” Lise Akoka, Romane Gueret
Jury Prize: “Joyland,” Saim Sadiq
Best Director Prize: Alexandru Belc, “Metronom”
Best Performance Prize — TIE: Vicky Krieps, “Corsage” and Adam Bessa, “Harka”
Best Screenplay Prize: Maha Haj, “Mediterranean Fever”
Coup de Coeur Award: “Rodeo,” Lola Quivoron