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Justine Triet’s French judicial thriller Anatomy of a fall won the 2023 Palme d’Or for best film at the 76th Cannes International Film Festival.
Triet is only the third female director to win the top accolade at Cannes, but the second in three years, after Julia Ducournau, who won the Palm for Titanium in 2021. Jane Campion was the first woman to win the Palme d’Or in 1993 with Plan.
German actress Sandra Hüller stars in the film as a German writer who is put on trial for murder after her husband dies under suspicious circumstances.
In his review, The Hollywood ReporterJon Frosch called Anatomy of a fall “a gripping and rewarding drama” and called lead actress Hüller “sensational”.
Jane Fonda, presenting this year’s top accolade, noted that when she first attended the Cannes film festival in the 1970s, “There were no female directors competing at the time, and it never came to in mind that there was something wrong with that. We’ve come a long way.”
Triet has used her platform to protest the French government’s austerity programs, including major cuts to cultural programs and pension reforms, which have sparked nationwide protests. You said that the French system of “cultural exception … without which I wouldn’t be here today” was under threat. “This award is dedicated to all young female directors and all young male directors: all those who are unable to make films today. We have to give them space, the space I occupied 15 years ago in a less hostile world, where it was still possible to make mistakes and start over”.
Japanese acting legend Koji Yakusho won the Best Actor award at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival, for his role in Wim Wenders’ film perfect dayswhere he plays a toilet cleaner who takes pleasure in the everyday pleasures of life.
The Best Actress award went to Merve Dizdar, the star of the Turkish drama Speaking of dried herbs by director Nuri Bilge Ceylan. In his review of the film, DAY he called her a “glowing presence” in her role as Nuray, a countryside teacher.
“I would like to dedicate this award to all the women who are struggling to overcome hardships in this world and to keep hope,” said Dizdar, accepting her award.
“This is the most exciting film festival in the world, and you are all so lucky to be a part of it,” said legendary cult director Roger Corman, who presented the second prize of the Grand Jury Prize together with Quentin Tarantino at The area of interest, an invigorating holocaust film by Jonathan Glazer. The British director in his acceptance speech honored the late Martin Amis, whose book was based on the film and who passed away last week.
“I was happy to be able to show him the film,” Glazer said.
Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki won the Jury Prize at Cannes 2023 for his funny romantic comedy Fallen leaves. His actors accepted on his behalf, reading a letter from Kaurismäki, who thanked Cannes and then gave a rock-and-roll salute: “Twist and shout!”
Tràn Anh Hùng, director born in Vietnam and living in France, won the award for best director The Pot Au Feu, a costume drama with Juliette Binoche and Benoît Magimel. After thanking Binoche and her crew, Hùng thanked her cook.
The third Asian film, by Hirokazu Kore-eda Monsterwon the Best Screenplay Award, for Yuji Sakamoto’s screenplay, a careful dissection of Japanese reticence, shame and longing.
The award for best first film went to Inside the yellow cocoon shell by Vietnamese writer/director Thien An Pham, which premiered at the Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes. The best short film award went to 27 by director Flora Anna Buda.
This year’s jury, chaired by Swedish director Ruben Östlund, two-time Cannes winner, who took home the Palme d’Or for best film last year for Triangle of sadness — chose the winners from the 21 films in competition. This year’s judging panel also included Brie Larson, Paul Dano, Maryam Touzani, Denis Ménochet, Rungano Nyoni, Atiq Rahimi, Damián Szifron and Julia Ducournau.
The closing ceremony, which marked the end of the 2023 Cannes Film Festival, was broadcast live on France’s France 2 network and streamed worldwide on Brut international channel. The awards were followed by the Disney/Pixar world premiere screening Elementary by director Peter Sohn.
In a change this year, the festival saw a number of well-known actors and directors present the top honors of 2023. Orlando Bloom presented the Jury Prize. Parasite star Song Kang-ho, last year’s Best Actor winner for Broker, presented the honor of best actress. Cannes 2022 Best Actress Holy Spider Zar star Amir Ebrahimi presented the Best Actor award. John C. Reilly, chairman of this year’s Un Certain Regard judging panel, presented the trophy for best screenplay. Pixar Studios creative director Pete Docter presented the award for best director. 1994 Palme d’Or winner Quentin Tarantino and cult legendary director Roger Corman (“my hero” said Tarantino) jointly delivered the Grand Prix runner-up, with veteran star Jane Fonda closing the evening with the presentation of the golden Palme d’Or.
Below is the complete list of winners.
Anatomy of a fall, to you. Justine Triet
The area of interest, dir. Jonathan Glasser
Fallen leaves, dir. Aki Kaurismäki
Tran Anh Hung for The Pot Au Feu
Yuji Sakamoto for Monster
Merve Dizdar for Speaking of dried herbs
Koji Yakusho for perfect days
Honorary Palme d’Or
Camera d’Or for the best first film
The yellow cocoon shell, dir. Thien An Pham
Palme d’Or for best short film
27, dir. Flora Anna Buda.