French Shocker ‘Titane’ Wins Palme d’Or

French Shocker 'Titane' Wins Palme d'Or
French director Julia Ducournau reacts on stage as she receives the Palme d’Or for her film “Titane” from US actress Sharon Stone during the closing ceremony of the 74th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France, on July 17, 2021. CHRISTOPHE SIMON / AFP

 

 

Shock-fest “Titane” took home the top Palme d’Or prize at Cannes on Saturday, revealed early at the closing ceremony in an embarrassing slip-up by jury president Spike Lee.

French director Julie Ducournau is only the second woman to scoop the prize, for a movie that was one of the wildest, sexiest and most violent ever shown at the Cannes film festival.

It tells the story of a young woman who has sex with cars, kills without a care, and pretends to be a boy despite being pregnant by a vintage Cadillac.

Lee, the first black man to lead the jury, read out the winner at the very start of the prize section, rather than introducing the first award of the night for best actor.

After an awkward pause and regrouping, the best actor award was given to US actor Caleb Landry Jones for his chilling performance in “Nitram” about Australia’s worst mass shooting.

Making a film about the Port Arthur massacre in 1996, in which 35 people died, triggered harsh criticism of director Justin Kurzel in Australia.

But critics were won over at the Cannes premiere, with Variety calling it a “devastating study of atrocity” that shows “quiet respect for the victims’ dignity”.

It was a huge night, too, for the previously unknown Norwegian actress Renate Reinsve, who was rocketed to stardom by her role in “Worst Person in the World”.

Her role as a twenty-something searching for her identity and pinballing through relationships was a sensation and caught the 33-year-old totally unprepared.

“No one has seen me in anything,” she told AFP after the premiere. “The other day I woke up and I puked. And today I woke up and I cried.”

French Shocker 'Titane' Wins Palme d'Or
French director Julia Ducournau poses on stage with her trophy for the Palme d’Or.
Valery HACHE / AFP

Sorry for ‘messing up’

When it finally became time to announce the Palme d’Or for real, Lee said: “I apologise for messing up.”

But then he almost fluffed the presentation again by announcing the winner rather than presenter Sharon Stone, by which point Ducournau was giggling in the audience.

She still broke into tears when the official announcement was made, and told the crowd: “This evening has been perfect because it’s been imperfect.

“Thank you for letting the monsters in.”

The only other woman to win the top prize is Jane Campion for “The Piano” in 1993.

Other winners on the night included Leos Carax for “Annette”, the flamboyant rock opera starring Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard, and written by eccentric Los Angeles pop duo Sparks.

The second-prize Grand Prix was shared between Iran’s two-time Oscar winner Asghar Farhadi (“A Hero”) and Finland’s Juho Kuosmanen (“Compartment No.6”), while best screenplay went to Japan’s Hamaguchi Ryusuke and Takamasa Oe for “Drive My Car”.

The race had been wide open this year, with critics pointing to many possible successors to “Parasite”, the South Korean hit which took home the last Palme in 2019 before making history by triumphing at the Oscars.

Last year’s festival was cancelled because of the pandemic.

The jury members watched a lot of sex this year, from lesbian nuns in Paul Verhoeven’s salacious “Benedetta” to a porn star returning to small-town Texas in “Red Rocket”, which scored well with critics.

Spit tests

There were doubts early in the festival about the Covid logistics, with some festival-goers grossed out by the spit tests required every 48 hours, and criticism on social media over unmasked attendees in the cinemas at early premieres.

Restrictions were tightened, partying scaled back, and even though the stars couldn’t quite keep themselves from hugs and kisses on the red carpet, the festival appeared to pass without a major outbreak.

But there was still plenty of star power.

Tilda Swinton was ubiquitous on the red carpet, appearing in five films of the official selection.

She starred in “Memoria” by Thailand’s former Palme winner Apichatpong Weerasethakul, which shared the third-place jury prize with “Ahed’s Knee” by Israel’s Nadav Lapid.

But Swinton was clear that her proudest moment was receiving the Palm Dog award on behalf of her three spaniels, who appeared with her in “The Souvenir Part 2”.

“Honestly, this is the prize to get,” she said at Friday’s canine ceremony, as she tied the red collar prize around her neck.

AFP

Cannes: “The Square” Wins The Palme d’Or

“The Square,” a Swedish movie about the curator of a museum filled with grotesquely pretentious conceptual art, beat stiff competition to win the top prize, the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival on Sunday.

Critics hailed the movie by writer-director Ruben Ostlund as “high-wire cinema” that veers between comedy and thriller with moments of pure surrealism, though some said it could easily have shed part of its 2 hours and 22 minutes running time.

Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar, who headed the jury of nine people that included Hollywood stars Will Smith and Jessica Chastain, said the film was about “the dictatorship of being politically correct.”

“BPM (Beats per Minute),” a French movie about AIDS awareness campaigners in the 1980s, had been favorite for the award but had to settle for second place, taking the Grand Prize of the Jury.

Sofia Coppola, who was not present at the Awards, won best director for “The Beguiled,” a remake of the 1971 Clint Eastwood tale of sexual tension between an injured soldier in the American Civil War and the women and girls who take him in.

Nicole Kidman, who starred alongside Colin Farrell in “The Beguiled” and “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” missed out on the best actress trophy but was awarded a special prize, collecting the jury’s 70th Anniversary Award.

Best actress went to Diane Kruger for her performance in the German film “In the Fade,” playing a woman trying to put her life back together after her husband and young son are killed in a bomb attack. It was her first role in her native German.

Joaquin Phoenix was named best actor for his portrayal of a psychologically damaged hit man in “You Were Never Really Here” by British director Scottish director Lynne Ramsay, who shared the prize for best screenplay with the writers of “The Killing of a Sacred Deer”, Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou.

Other wins included the Jury Prize for “Loveless”, collected by director Andrey Zvyagintsev, and the Camera d’Or for “Jeune Femme/Montparnasse Bienvenue” awarded to director Léonor Serraille.