Monday, May 29, 2017

Cannes: 'The Square' wins Palme d'Or, while Joaquin Phoenix, Sofia Coppola, and more take home awards

The 2017 Cannes Film Festival has come and gone, and the common consensus was that it was a fairly underwhelming year for the prestigious festival. The closest thing we saw to a universally acclaimed hit was Lynne Ramsay's late-breaking You Were Never Really Here, but even that Joaquin Phoenix-led action film had its dissenters. In addition to Ramsay's film, it seemed to be a fairly good festival for genre fans, with Bong Joon Ho's Okja and Ben and Josh Safdie's Good Time generating a good bit of critical praise. But when it came to the big ticket auteurs, there were many letdowns. Critics seemed to turn their backs on Michael Haneke's Happy End, labeling it as a dull rehash of the director's prior work, while very few found much to love in Wonderstruck, the children's fable from Carol director Todd Haynes. Yorgos Lanthimos' The Killing of a Sacred Deer was incredibly divisive, while even Sofia Coppola's The Beguiled didn't cause many passionate responses from fans or critics. With reactions to this year's competition slate all over the map, nobody was really sure how the awards would turn out. Yesterday, Jury President Pedro Almodovar and his colleagues announced their picks, and there were more than a few surprises. Check out the full list below!

Palme d'Or- The Square, dir. Ruben Ostlund

Grand Prix- 120 Beats per Minute, dir. Robin Campillo

Jury Prize- Loveless, dir. Andrey Zvyagintsev

Best Director- Sofia Coppola, The Beguiled

Best Actor- Joaquin Phoenix, You Were Never Really Here

Best Actress- Diane Kruger, In the Fade

Best Screenplay- (TIE) Yorgos Lanthimos, The Killing of a Sacred Deer and Lynne Ramsay, You Were Never Really Here

70th Anniversary Prize- Nicole Kidman

For quick reference, this year's Cannes Jury was comprised of the following individuals- Pedro Almodovar (President), Maren Ade, Fan Bingbing, Park Chan-wook, Jessica Chastain, Agnes Jaoui, Will Smith, Paolo Sorrentino, and Gabriel Yared.

Going into yesterday's ceremony, most expected Robin Campillo's 120 Beats per Minute to take home the Palme, given that the French AIDS drama was generally well-respected and admired by just about everyone at the festival. So it was surprising that The Square came out on top- Ostlund's film had garnered a fair bit of praise, but it didn't seem like a universally beloved choice. Campillo and Andrey Zyvaginstsev rounded out the main prizes without much in the way of surprises, while there were a few interesting twists in the other categories. I can't say I expected Sofia Coppola to take home Director, as I was fully anticipating that Lynne Ramsay would take that prize for her acclaimed revenge drama. Ramsay ended up sharing Best Screenplay with Yorgos Lanthimos, while Joaquin Phoenix took home Best Actor, meaning that You Were Never Really Here was fairly well represented.

Overall, while Cannes may have disappointed for those in attendance at the festival, there are quite a few films that have popped onto my radar in the last week that I simply can't wait to see. I was ecstatic to see the reception to Okja, Good Time, and The Killing of a Sacred Deer, and I'm certainly much more intrigued by You Were Never Really Here and The Square than I was before (although I wasn't a big fan of Ostlund's last film, the tricky Force Majeure). Anyways, I think that's it for this year's Cannes. Expect the cinephiles to wake back up in August, just in time for the start of the Oscar season.

Image: IMDB

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