“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.