Palme d’Or goes to Japanese film
Vecdi Sayar - CANNES
The 71st Cannes Film Festival came to an end on the evening of May 19 with the deliberation of awards. The International Jury headed by Cate Blanchette presented the Japanese picture “Shoplifters” by renowned director Hirokazu Koreeda with the Palme d’Or (Golden Palm). The film tells the story of a poor family in which children earn their living by shoplifting. The film, a realistic portrait of a family held together by affection despite the hardships of modern society, was an unexpected winner.
Spike Lee’s Black Power film “BlacKkKlansman” received the Grand Prix and Lebanese director Nadine Labaki’s film “Capharnaüm” received the Jury Prize. The jury designated a Special Palme d’or to Swiss-French director Jean-Luc Godard for his nonstop efforts in the art of film.
Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski received the award for Best Director with his film “Cold War,” a love story embedded in the politics of war in 1950s Poland. Marcello Fonte from the Italian film “Dogman” was chosen as Best Actor and Samal Yeslyamova received Best Actress for the Russian film “Ayka.” The jury presented a shared prize in the category for Best Screenplay to Italian writer-director Alice Rohrwacher with “Happy as Lazzaro” and Iranian writer Nader Saeivar for his collaboration with Jafar Panahi in the Iranian pic “Three Faces.”
Festival goers partly welcomed the jury’s decisions. However, it came as a surprise for many that films such as Korean director Lee Chang-Dong’s film “Burning,” the French working class film “In War“ and Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s film “Ahlat Ağacı” did not receive awards, as these films had been favorites among critics.
This year’s festival program had a good selection, ranging from different cultures and different styles. Out of the 21 films selected for the international competition, 10 to 12 films might have easily been considered for awards. Thus, with a different jury, the award winners might have been different.
The International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) presented their award to “Burning,” “a visually stunning film with an emotionally complex comment on contemporary society.” The FIPRESCI Prize for the Un Certain Regard section went to “Girl,” directed by Lukas Dhont. The jury, presided by Benicio del Toro, presented their prize to the Swedish-Danish film “Border” directed by Ali Abbasi, who is of Iranian origin. The film, which tells a story about “the other” and one’s realization of his or her true identity, combines political comment with fantastic and mythological elements.