The 69th Cannes Film Festival presented awards on Sunday at the conclusion of ten days of film premieres on the French Riviera this month. Woody Allen’s Cafe Society opened the festival, making Allen the first director of three opening night films at Cannes. (The last time was his Midnight in Paris, which opened the festival in 2011.) Other American films to premiere out-of-competition this year include The Nice Guys, directed by Shane Black, Money Monster, directed by Jodie Foster and starring Julia Roberts and George Clooney, and Steven Spielberg’s The BFG.
The Palme d’Or, the festival’s top prize, was awarded to I, Daniel Blake, a film about an ailing English man wrestling with state bureaucracy by the British filmmaker Ken Loach, making Loach one of the few directors to win the prize twice. (The first time was for The Wind That Shakes the Barley in 2006.) The Grand Prix, the festival’s second-most prestigious prize, went to Juste la fin du monde (It’s Only the End of the World) by the Canadian director Xavier Dolan, a film based on the play of the same name by French playwright Jean-Luc Lagarce. The Jury Prize, the festival’s third-most prestigious prize, went to the British-American film American Honey, directed by Andrea Arnold.
Two directors tied for the Award for Best Director: Cristian Mungiu of Romania for Bacalaureat (Graduation), a drama about a physician in Transylvania, and the French director Olivier Assayas for Personal Shopper, a Parisian ghost story. (Mungiu won the Palme d’Or in 2007 for 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days.) The Award for Best Screenplay went to Iranian director Asghar Farhadi — also director of the Academy Award-winning A Separation — for Forushande (The Salesman). Jaclyn Jose won Best Actress for her role in the Filipino film Ma’ Rosa, and Shahab Hosseini won Best Actor for his role in Forushande (The Salesman).
The Palme d’Or for Short Film was awarded to Timecode, a story about parking lot security guards by Spanish director Juanjo Gimenez. The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki, a film about boxing by Finnish director Juho Kuosmanen, won the Prize of Un Certain Regard, the festival’s selection for experimental films. The Caméra d’Or, the festival’s prize for best first feature, went to Divines, by French director Houda Benyamina.
Upon receiving the Palme d’Or on Sunday, Loach remarked: ‘This neoliberal world in which we live risks leading us to disaster. Another world is possible and necessary!’ ■
Featured Image: From the poster for the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. Festival de Cannes.