Cannes 2017: Awards, Etc.
It would be hard to describe anticipation for the awards at Cannes 2017 as frenzied. There was probably more excitement over the typically universe-collapsing composition of the jury—headed by Pedro Almodóvar and including Maren Ade, Will Smith, Park Chanwook, and Jessica Chastain—than over making predictions. For many critics, in fact, it’s been a few years since the Palme d’Or was bestowed on a suitably challenging film, and the selections of the 70th anniversary edition lacked a clear stand-out bravura work. When the dust cleared—and the accordion music stopped—the winner was a film that hadn’t been finished when the 2017 lineup was announced in April. Below are the awards from the Competition, with a few notes, as well as the prizes for Un Certain Regard and those given in Directors’ Fortnight and Critics’ Week.
Palme d’Or: The Square, Ruben Östlund
At the post-awards press conference, Almodóvar praised the “brilliant” film for taking on “the dictatorship of being politically correct,” which he decried as being just as awful as any actual dictatorship. That jived with my grumblings about the film’s reactionary bent and, together with the screening of Twin Peaks at the festival, confirmed that it was 1990 again. At the ceremony a few moments before, Östlund directed the audience—which perhaps awkwardly included other filmmakers up for the same prize—in a group “scream of happiness.”
Grand Prix: 120 BPM, Robin Campillo
Campillo’s ensemble drama about ACT-UP in France in the early 1990s was considered a possible consensus pick for the Palme. At the press conference, Almodóvar was asked how he felt about the fact that the film did not win the top prize. “This is a very democratic jury,” he said, before appearing to choke up a bit over its story of activism. “I loved the movie, I cannot love it more.” The film’s win elicited fervent applause at the ceremony and a touching dedication from Campillo.
Best Director: Sofia Coppola, The Beguiled
Jury member Maren Ade, director of shut-out 2016 contender Toni Erdmann, accepted the award for Coppola in her absence.
Best Screenplay: Yorgos Lanthimos & Efthimis Filippou, The Killing of a Sacred Deer and Lynne Ramsay, You Were Never Really Here
Two ticking-time-bomb stories received the award ex aequo—one a twisted reworking of the poisonous-visitor story, the other a compact avenger-for-hire story. Intriguingly, Ramsay later described You Were Never Really Here as not completely finished, as she planned to weave in more music by Jonny Greenwood, and the script was a work in progress during shooting; the film press-screened without closing credits.
Best Actress: Diane Kruger, In the Fade
Best Actor: Joaquin Phoenix, You Were Never Really Here
The performance prizes went to films that screened right near the end of the festival and culminated in ultraviolent acts of vengeance. In the Fade director Fatih Akin fist-pumped so hard in his seat he nearly head-butted Kruger, while the cut-away to Phoenix, seated with Rooney Mara, showed him befuddled after his award’s announcement; he later confessed he was expecting to be “crushed.”
Jury Prize: Loveless, Andrei Zvyagintsev
The Russian auteur’s film had loomed over the festival since its opening-day press screening. Many griped over its banner-sized State of the Nation sentiments on contemporary Russian society, such as a scene in which the female lead runs in place on a treadmill in a sweatsuit emblazoned with the word “RUSSIA.” Zvyagintsev explained to me that “she wears this because it was in fashion” because of the Olympic Games in Sochi. In his acceptance remarks, he bewilderingly singled out Will Smith for actually existing.
Caméra d’Or: Jeune Femme, Léonor Serraille
A visibly nervous Serraille was joined by her lead, Laetita Dosch, in accepting the award for this Un Certain Regard selection about a young Parisian pulling her life together. Jeune Femme wasn’t an entirely unknown quantity, featured on the April cover of Cahiers du Cinéma under the headline “Cinéma français. Vives les excentriques!”
70th Anniversary Award: Nicole Kidman
Palme d’Or – Short Film: A Gentle Night, Qiu Yang
Special Mention: The Ceiling, Teppo Airaksinen
While the shorts section is not as closely watched as the feature awards, jury head Cristian Mungiu acknowledged some unspoken tensions over bestowing recognition at Cannes: how to encourage both “strong narrative” and “non-standard” risky work. Qiu’s reaction: “It’s fucking amazing. Thank you.”
Cinéfondation First Prize: Paul Is Here, Valentina Maurel
Second Prize: AniMal, Bahram & Bahman Ark
Third Prize: Two Youths Died, Tommaso Usberti
Un Certain Regard
Un Certain Regard Prize: A Man of Integrity, Mohammad Rasoulof
Jury Prize: April’s Daughter, Michel Franco
Prize for Best Direction: Taylor Sheridan, Wind River
Prize for the Best Poetic Narrative: Barbara, Mathieu Amalric
Prize for Best Actress: Jasmine Trinca, Fortunata
Art Cinema Award: The Rider, Chloe Zhao
The SACD Award: Lover for a Day, Philippe Garrel & Let the Sunshine In, Claire Denis
The Europa Cinemas Label: A Ciambra, Jonas Carpignano
Illy Prize for Short Film: Retour à Genoa City, Benoît Grimalt
International Critics’ Week
Nespresso Grand Prize: Makala, Emmanuel Gras
France 4 Visionary Award: Gabriel and the Mountains, Fellipe Gamarano Barbosa
SACD Award: Léa Mysius, Ava
Leica Cine Discovery Prize for Short Film: Los Desheredados, Laura Ferrés
Canal+ Award: Najpiekniejsze Fajerwerki Ever, Aleksandra Terpińska
Gan Foundation Support for Distribution Award: Version Originale/Condor, Gabriel and the Mountains
From the soundtrack of Todd Haynes’s Wonderstruck