The 76th Festival de Cannes was an exceptional edition of the world’s greatest and glitziest film festival. The Official Selection, especially the films competing for the Palme d’Or, provided plenty of artistic excellence and cinematic creativity.
President of the Jury Ruben Östlund and his fellow delegates Denis Ménochet, Paul Dano, Brie Larson, Atiq Rahimi, Julia Ducournau, Damián Szifron, Rungano Nyoni and Maryam Touzani, appear to have all got along famously, with their verdicts, they said in the press conference held after the closing ceremony, often unanimous with little disagreement.
This year’s Palme d’Or winner, Anatomy of a Fall, is historic. Another female director, Justine Triet, has won the most prestigious film award in existence. Only the third to do so in the festival’s history. But it shows the times are changing and moving in a positive direction. The critics hotly tipped Jonathan Glazer’s extraordinary The Zone of Interest to walk away with the Palme d’Or, but it received instead the Grand Prix.
The Best Director prize went to Tran Ahn Hung’s The Pot-au-Feu, the Jury Prize given to the delightful Fallen Leaves, and Best Screenplay to Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Monster, a film which was so deftly imagined and beautifully written.
The acting awards were arguably the major surprises of the night. Koji Yakusho bagged the Best Performance by a Male Actor for Wim Wender’s Perfect Days, while Merve Dizdar earned the female equivalent for Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s new epic, About Dry Grasses.
The film also honoured not only Michael Douglas with a special Palme d’Or at the opening ceremony, but Harrison Ford – who was clearly moved by his reception at Cannes during the Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny world premiere, but also in the press conference held the next day. Ford has famously never won an Oscar despite being one of the all-time great movie icons, but his honorary Palme d’Or was a beautiful tribute and act of recognition.
The 76th Festival de Cannes will live long in the memory. A strong selection, a commitment to keeping the flame of the art of cinema alive on the biggest stage possible, especially in the era of streaming, one downside is the persistent and annoying use of smartphones during film screening. When a filmmaker is in the audience too, it feels utterly disrespectful. The festival should clampdown on smartphone use during screenings. Enact a zero tolerance policy. If a person cannot do without their smartphone for 90 minutes to 3 hours, then they have no business being at a film festival. That is something to think about, because it’s getting worse every year.
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