The Cannes jury, led by the Spanish auteur Pedro Almodóvar, has handed the prestigious Palme d’Or for the best film in the festival’s Official Competition to the Swedish director Ruben Östlund for his art world satire, The Square. Almodóvar said the film was a rich and completely contemporary tale about “the dictatorship of being politically correct.”
The film was well received by critics when it screened earlier in the festival, but it hadn’t been talked of as a possible winner. The Grand Prix – the runner-up prize – went to the French AIDS drama 12- Beats per Minute, while the Jury Prize – the third-placed award – went to Russia’s Andrey Zvyagintsev for Loveless.
Sofia Coppola was named the Best Director for her remake of Clint Eastwood’s The Beguiled, starring Nicole Kidman, who received a special award to mark the Cannes Film Festival’s seventieth anniversary.
Despite being in four productions at Cannes, two of them in the Official Competition, Kidman missed out on the Best Actress prize. That went to Diane Kruger, for her role as a women whose husband and son are killed by right-wing extremists in Germany, in In The Fade. Joaquin Phoenix was named the Best Actor for Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here, which also won the director the Best Screenplay honours, shared with Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou, for the surreal psychological chiller The Killing of a Sacred Deer.
The Official Competition jury often spreads the honours, giving no film more than a couple of prizes, and – as illustrated by this year’s screenplay prize – sometimes shares a single award between two films. While this means that the best film rarely has the best director, best screenplay or best actors, it gives more of the contenders an opportunity to share the limelight and avoids the familiar Oscars trait of having a single film clean up. But it still wasn’t enough for some of the most hotly tipped films, such as Good Time and The Meyerowitz Stories, to walk away with anything.
The Camera d’Or, which is awarded to the best debut film across the various programmes being screened during the festival, went to Léonor Serraille for her low budget drama about a young woman coming out of a relationship, Jeune Femme, which screened as part of the Un Certain Regard strand.
The overall winner of the Un Certain Regard strand was A Man of Integrity, by the Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof. The Jury Prize went to Michel Franco’s April’s Daughter and the Best Director was Taylor Sheridan, for Wind River.