Frenchwoman Julia Ducournau became the second director to win the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival on Saturday. She was rewarded for her film “Titane”, a resolutely contemporary work which greatly stirred critics because of certain ultra-violent scenes.
For the second time only in the history of the Cannes Film Festival, the Palme d’Or was awarded on Saturday July 17 to a film directed by a woman, 28 years after “The Piano Lesson” by Jane Campion. It was “Titane” by the French Julia Ducournau who won the prize after dividing the critics because of some shocking scenes.
The announcement of the supreme award was premature to say the least since the president of the jury Spike Lee took charge from the start of the ceremony, catching the organizers by surprise.
Spike Lee was first supposed to announce the Best Actor Award, which ultimately went to American Caleb Landry Jones for his performance in “Nitram,” where he plays a borderline young man who is about to commit one. of the worst killings in Australian history.
The prize for female interpretation was offered to the Norwegian Renate Reinsve for her role in “Julie in 12 chapters” by Joachim Trier, in which she plays a young woman in search of herself.
Grand Prize for Asghar Farhadi
Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi for his part called to “raise awareness” in Iran by receiving the Grand Prix, the second most prestigious after the Palme d’Or, tied with the Finnish Juho Kuosmanen. The director won the award for “A Hero”, the story of redemption prevented in an Iranian society plagued by mistrust and manipulation.
French director Leos Carax won the best director’s award for “Annette”, an abundant and virtuoso rock opera that makes two stars shine, Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard.
By offering the Palme d’Or to the youngest of the competition, 37, the Cannes Film Festival sends a major signal in an industry that has been questioning more than ever for four years about the place of women, and equality between women. genres, in the wake of the Weinstein affair and the #MeToo movement. Julia Ducourneau thanked the jury for “recognizing the greedy and visceral need we have for a more fluid and inclusive world”.
Only four female directors were in competition this year, for 24 films in total. The most prestigious prize, awarded to “Titane”, rewards a transgressive and pioneering cinema, imbued with feminism.
“Titanium”, which is not intended for all audiences, mixes woman / machine hybridization, love for cars and the quest for paternity. It was the most violent and trashy film of the competition, far from winning unanimous support among critics. It features a bluffing newcomer, Agathe Rousselle, and French actor Vincent Lindon, as a firefighter on steroids.
Julia Ducournau had already left a memorable memory in Cannes with her first feature film, “Grave”, a veterinary student who becomes a cannibal, which allowed her to become the leader of a revival of the tricolor genre film. Across the Atlantic, she was knighted by a horror master, Night Shyamalan.
This list gives a shot of old to the other contenders for the Palme d’Or, some behind the camera since the 1970s like Paul Verhoeven, whose film “Benedetta”, announced as a shock work on a lesbian nun in the Middle Ages , finally disappointed, or Nanni Moretti, in search of a second Palme d’Or with “Tre Pianni”, but left empty-handed.
Victory for the organizers
The logistics related to Covid-19 were criticized at the start: participants coming from a country outside the Schengen area as well as unvaccinated Europeans had to take saliva tests every 48 hours. Some were put off by all this spitting, but the system was fast and efficient. Photos of spectators without masks at first screenings also drew criticism on social media, but restrictions were quickly tightened. French actress Léa Seydoux was the only celebrity infected with the virus in Paris, causing her to miss four red carpet premieres.
After last year’s cancellation, festival-goers were spoiled with an abundance of films, some awaiting their premieres since early 2020. In 12 days, the organizers stalled 24 screenings of films in official competition, and five times more outside. competition. One way, perhaps, to make up for the absence of parties.
Among this deluge of films, the festival has established a new special selection on climate change, a way for Cannes to place the environmental emergency at the heart of its priorities. This year, the famous red carpet was made from recycled materials rather than the usual PVC. The organizers also banned plastic bottles, deployed a fleet of electric vehicles and asked for a contribution of 20 euros per participant to offset their carbon footprint.