The Japanese film Shoplifters has won the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Hirokazu Kore-eda’s tale of a family of small-time crooks who take in a child they find on the street drew tears from many critics when it was screened on the Croisette.
The president of the jury, the Australian actress Cate Blanchett, said she had asked the festival organisers for permission to award an additional “Special” Palme d’Or to Jean-Luc Godard for his audio-visual collage, The Image Book.
The American Spike Lee was awarded the second prize, the Grand Prix, for BLACKkKLANSMAN, based on the real-life story of a black police officer who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in Colorado Springs, in the early 1970s.
The third prize, known as the Jury Prize, went to one of the three female directors among the twenty-one contenders. The Lebanese actress-turned-director Nadine Labaki was honoured for her film Capharnaum, about a young boy who takes his parents to court for having brought him into this world.
The only film with any British involvement, the BFI-backed Polish film Cold War, won the London-based Pawel Pawlikowski the Best Director prize. This makes 2018 the fifth successive year that films supported by the BFI’s Film Fund have won awards at Cannes. The director of the fund, Ben Roberts, congratulated the director on his recognition from the jury for what the described the “breathtaking” and “exemplary” co-production.
The award for Best Screenplay was shared between one of the other women in the competition, Alice Rohrwacher for Happy As Lazzaro, and the Iranian film 3 Faces, written by director Jafar Panahi, with his co-writer Nader Saeivar.
The Best Actor prize went to Marcello Fonte, for his turn as a dog-groomer in Matteo Garrone’s Dogman, which also won the more light-hearted Palme Dog award, in a more relaxed ceremony the previous day.
The mostly female jury chose Kazakhstan’s Samal Yeslyamova as its best actress for her role as a young, jobless immigrant in Ayka.
But it was the presentation of this award that shook up the industry as a whole perhaps more than any of the other nods to the post-Weinstein Me Too campaign during the course of the festival – it could have a longer lasting effect that the site of 82 women protesting on the red carpet against the lack of representation of women at the festival, with only 82 women having been nominated for the competition in its 71 year history. The winner was announced by the Italian actress Asia Argento, who was one of the first women to come forward with allegations against Weinstein. She used the platform to describe the Cannes Film Festival as Weinstein’s “hunting ground,” saying that he raped her in 1997 – in Cannes. He’s always denied having non-consensual sex with anyone. Argento went on to say Weinstein would never again be welcome at the festival, living in disgrace and shunned by the film community. She accused others in the industry of covering up for Weinstein’s crimes and rustled feathers further by pointing her finger directly at the Cannes Film Festival. “Even tonight, sitting among you, there are those who still have to be held accountable for their conduct against women. For a behaviour that does not belong in this industry, does not belong in any industry or workplace. You know who you are, but most importantly we know who you are, and we are not going to allow you to get away with it any longer.”
But in a sign that some parts of the industry are perhaps more comfortable with diversity, the Camera d’Or, for the best first film across all programmes running up and down the Croisette during the festival went to the Belgian director Lukas Dhont for his drama Girl, about a transgender teenager who dreams of becoming a ballerina. The film had previously won best actor in the Un Certain Regard strand and was also honoured with the Queer Palm, an unofficial prize for LGBT-themed cinema.