The Palme d’Or award for best picture at the Cannes Film Festival has been awarded to Ruben Ostlund’s The Square. The Swedish satire, in which an art installation project goes badly wrong, is set at the intersection of art, politics and national identity in the Scandinavian country. Ostlund has previously directed four films, including the critical favourite Force Majeure (2014), about a marriage that breaks down after an avalanche.
The 70th edition (May 17-28) saw 19 titles in the prestigious international competition, including Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled, Todd Haynes’s Wonderstruck, Michel Hazanavicius’s Redoubtable, Hong Sang-soo’s The Day After, Bong Joon-ho’s Okja and Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected). Michael Haneke’s family drama Happy End, set against the backdrop of the European refugee crisis, was a leading favourite in the competition section, but Haneke missed his chance to win three Palme D’Or awards after The White Ribbon (2009) and Amour (2012).
The Grand Prix, the event’s second most important award, was handed over to 120 Beats Per Minute, Robin Campillo’s chronicle of the AIDS crisis in France in the 1980s.
The Russian film Loveless by Andrey Zvyagintsev, director of the celebrated Leviathan, was given the Jury Prize. Zvyagintsev’s latest exploration of the cracks in Russian society is about a son who disappears in the middle of a family argument.
Sofia Coppola won Best Director for The Beguiled, an adaptation of the Thomas P Cullinan Civil War-era novel of the same name. A previous screen version, starring Clint Eastwood, was released in 1971. In Coppola’s film, starring Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Colin Farrell and Elle Fanning, a wounded soldier takes shelter in an all-girls school and disrupts the order. She is only the second woman to get the honour after Yuliya Solntseva, who won in 1961 for the Russian film The Chronicle of Flaming Years.
The best screenplay prize was shared by Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos’s dysfunctional family drama The Killing of a Sacred Deer and British veteran Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here, about a war veteran’s attempts to rescue a young woman from a sex trafficking ring. Joaquin Phoenix won the Best Actor prize for You Were Never Really Here. The Best Actress award went to Diane Kruger for Fatih Akin’s terrorism-themed revenge drama In The Fade.
The Camera D’or, or the prize for the best debut feature, was bagged by Leonor Serraille for Montparnasse Bienvenue. The movie traces the efforts of a young woman to fit in with the culture of the titular Left-Bank neighbourhood in Paris. The crew almost entirely comprises women.
The jury of the Un Certain Regard sidebar section, which was headed by American actress Uma Thurman, awarded the best film to Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof’s Lerd (A Man of Integrity). The film explores corruption in Iran, and cements Rasoulof’s reputation as a combative filmmaker who is unafraid to take on contentious subjects.
Michael Franco’s Spanish-language April’s Daughter won the jury prize in the Un Certain regard section, while Taylor Sheridan was named best director for Wind River. Jasmine Trinca, who stars in Sergio Castellito’s Lucky, won best acting prize. French actor and director Mathieu Amalric bagged a best screenwriting prize for Barbara.
Qui Yang’s A Gentle Night won the best short film award, while Teppo Airaksinen’s Katto got a special mention in the same category.
Nicole Kidman, who had three films at the festival (The Beguiled, How to Talk to Girls at Parties, and The Killing of a Sacred Deer) and the television series Top of the Lake, was given the 70th anniversary prize.