Cannes prize winners light up the closing ceremony

What’s French cinema without a little politics?

The 76th Cannes Film Festival closed in dramatic style, with French director Justine Triet’s Anatomy of a Fall beating 21 other films in competition for the top prize.

Triet is only the third woman to win the Palme d’Or (after Jane Campion for The Piano and Julia Ducournau for Titane).

In presenting the prize, Jane Fonda, remarked on how far Cannes has come in setting a record for female representation – with seven women directors in competition this year – since the American star first attended.

Triet won the prize over veteran directors like Hirokazu Kore-eda, Ken Loach and Wim Wenders, all of whom have at least one Palme d’Or under their belts.

Her marital murder-mystery is a provoking legal drama centred around the guilt or innocence of a popular novelist accused of murdering her husband.

In accepting the award, Triet made a point of acknowledging the protests against French pension reform, which were forbidden from the festival, saying they had “been denied and repressed in a shocking way”.

She also called for more room to be made for young filmmakers to make mistakes and start again.

Justine Triet’s Anatomy of a Fall. Photo: Cannes Film Festival

The Grand Prix, the second-highest prize after the Palme d’Or, went to British director Jonathan Glazer’s The Zone of Interest, about a family living next to Auschwitz.

An adaptation of the World War II novel by Martin Amis (who died during the festival), the film depicts the private life of the German commandant responsible for executing countless Jews at Auschwitz.

Starring in both winning films was German actor Sandra Hueller, who in Anatomy of a Fall plays a writer who finds her husband dead and becomes the main suspect, while in Zone of Interest, she is the wife of the commandant of the Auschwitz death camp.

This year’s closing movie is Pixar’s Elemental, an animated feature about a city where the four elements live together, featuring the voices of Leah Lewis and Mamoudou Athie.

Swedish director Ruben Ostlund, one of only nine directors who has won the Palme d’Or twice, for Triangle of Sadness in 2022 and 2017’s The Square, was this year’s jury president.

He had promised there would be no leaks from his jury, whose members included actors Paul Dano (The Fabelmans) and Brie Larson (Captain Marvel).

This year’s festival was one of the biggest in years in terms of pure celebrity power, with Hollywood legends Harrison Ford, Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, Isabella Rossellini and Sean Penn all hitting the red carpet.

There also was record attendance at its film market – a sales, distribution and financing event running in parallel with the competition, that counts as the world’s largest forum for buying and selling movie rights.

More than 14,000 participants from over 120 countries crowded the film market this year, surpassing 2019’s previous peak of 12,500.

The list of winners at the 76th Cannes Film Festival

  • Palme d’Or: Justine Triet for Anatomy of a Fall
  • Grand Prix: Jonathan Glazer for The Zone of Interest
  • Best director: Tran Anh Hung for The Pot-au-Feu
  • Best actress: Merve Dizdar for About Dry Grasses
  • Best actor: Koji Yakusho for Perfect Days
  • Best screenplay: Sakamoto Yuji for Monster
  • Jury prize: Aki Kaurismaki for Fallen Leaves
  • Best short film: Flora Anna Buda for 27
  • Camera d’Or for best first film: Thien An Pham for Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell
-with AAP
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