CANNES (Reuters) – French director Justine Triet became the third female director to win the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or on Saturday, beating out 20 other films in competition for the top prize.
Triet used her award speech to criticize how the protest against pension reforms in France “has been denied and repressed in a shocking way” and also called for more room to be made for young filmmakers.
“We have to make room for them, room that I was given 15 years ago in a slightly less hostile world where it was still possible to make mistakes and start again,” she said.
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.
She joins New Zealand’s Jane Campion and France’s Julia Ducournau as only the third woman to have won the competition that this year included a record seven female directors.
The Grand Prix, the second-highest prize after the Palme d’Or, went to British director Jonathan Glazer’s “Zone of Interest,” about a family living next to Auschwitz.
Starring in both winning films was German actor Sandra Hueller, who in “Anatomy of a Fall” plays a writer who is the main suspect in her husband’s death, while in “Zone of Interest” she is the wife of the commandant of the Auschwitz death camp.
However, the award for best female actor went to Merve Dizdar, who plays a teacher in an isolated village in Turkey in Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s “About Dry Grasses.”
Best actor went to the renowned Koji Yakusho, who plays a toilet cleaner in Tokyo in director Wim Wenders’ “Perfect Days.”
“Fallen Leaves” by Finland’s Aki Kaurismaki, who was back in the competition after more than a decade, took the jury prize.
His award was accepted by the two main stars of the tragicomedy that follows a budding romance on his behalf.
French-Vietnamese director Tran Anh Hung took home best director for “The Pot-au-Feu,” a food-obsessed French film starring Juliette Binoche and Benoit Magimel as a couple.
While introducing best screenplay, John C Reilly showed his support for striking Hollywood writers with roughly a minute of wordless mimicry before saying: “What we just experienced is what a movie would be like without screenwriters.”
That prize went to Yuji Sakamoto for the Japanese entry “Monster,” directed by Kore-eda, which follows a series of misunderstandings surrounding two schoolboys’ friendship.
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, who was this year’s jury president, had promised there would be no leaks from his members, who included Ducournau and 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.
(Reporting by Miranda Murray; Editing by Jan Harvey, Chizu Nomiyama and David Gregorio)