The South Korean director Bong Joon-ho has achieved what he’s described as his lifelong dream – winning the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival for his jet-black social-comedy Parasite. Unlike in some recent years, the Palme d’Or winner went down as well with many critics as it did with the jury, headed by the double-Oscar-winning director Alejandro González Iñárritu.
The jury gave the second prize to the first black woman to contest the Palme d’Or, Mati Diop, for her ghost story Atlantics, about Senegalese migrants dying at sea. Another of the women in competition, France’s Celine Sciamma, took home the Best Screenplay award for her lesbian period drama Portrait of a Woman on Fire.
The third prize was shared by the French police drama Les Miserables and the Brazilian satire on political corruption, Bacurau.
Previous winners of the Palme d’Or, the Dardenne brothers, were given then Best Director award for their drama about a radicalised muslim boy, Young Ahmed.
The acting prizes went to regular Almodovar collaborator Antonio Banderas for Pain and Glory, in which he plays a fictionalised version of the director, and the British actress Emily Beecham, as the mother and geneticist in the UK co-production, Little Joe.
Despite positive reviews from many critics, there were no honours for the Hollywood star-power of Quentin Tarantino’s competition entry, 25 years after he picked up the top prize for Pulp Fiction. Ken Loach’s much-heralded Sorry We Missed You also left with nothing.
The jury president described the nominated directors as visionaries, express the worries, frustrations and nightmares of modern life. “Cinema now has the urgency of social consciousness expressed by people around the world,” he said.
In the Un Certain Regard strand, awards were handed out yesterday; the Best Film went to Karim Aïnouz for The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao, with Oliver Laxe’s Fire Will Come taking the Jury Prize, The Special Jury Prize going to Albert Serra’s Liberte. The Climb and A Brother’s Love shared the Jury’s Coup de Coeur prize.
Our Mothers, by the Guatemalan director César Díaz, which played in the Critics’ Week strand at Cannes, won the Camera d’Or prize for the best debut film.