Swedish director Ruben Östlund’s war comedy, Triangle of Sadness, has won the Palme d’Or at the 75th Cannes Film Festival, giving Östlund one of the most prestigious film awards for the second time.
Most important points:
- Ruben Östlund won the top prize in Cannes for the first time in 2017
- Korean star Song Kang Ho won Best Actor for his role in Broker
- Zar Amir Ebrahimi won Best Actress for her role in Ali Abbasi’s Holy Spider
Östlund – whose art broadcast, The Square, won the Palme in 2017 – delivered the rare feat on Saturday, local time, winning Cannes’ top prize for back-to-back films.
Triangle of Sadness—featuring Woody Harrelson as the Marxist yacht captain and a climactic scene featuring rampant vomiting—push the satire even further.
“We wanted after the screening [for people] to go out together and have something to talk about,” Östlund said.
The awards were judged by a nine-member jury led by French actor Vincent Lindon and were presented at a closing ceremony at the Grand Lumière Theater in Cannes.
The jury’s second prize, the Grand Prix, was shared by Close, the tender boy drama by Belgian director Lukas Dhont, about two 13-year-old boys whose bond is tragically broken after their intimacy is mocked by classmates, and the French movie legend Claire Denis’ Stars at Noon, an adaptation of Denis Johnson starring Margaret Qualley as a journalist in Nicaragua.
South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook (Oldboy and The Handmaiden) won the directorial prize for his sinuous noir, Decision to Leave, a romance combined with police proceedings.
Korean star Song Kang Ho was named Best Actor for his role in Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s film, Broker, about a Korean family looking for a home for an abandoned baby.
“I want to thank everyone who appreciates Korean cinema,” said Song, who also starred in Bong Joon Ho’s Palme d’Or award-winning film Parasite at Cannes three years ago.
Best Actress went to Zar Amir Ebrahimi for her role as a journalist in Ali Abbasi’s Holy Spider, a true crime thriller about a serial killer who targets sex workers in the Iranian religious city of Mashhad.
Violent and graphic, Holy Spider was not allowed to shoot in Iran and was instead made in Jordan. Ebrahimi accepted the award, saying the film “depicted everything that is impossible to show in Iran”.
The jury prize was divided between the friendship story De Acht Bergen, by Charlotte Vandermeersch and Felix Van Groeningen, and the EO by the Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski, about a donkey ride through a brutal modern Europe.
“I want to thank my donkeys,” said Skolimowski, who went on to thank all six donkeys used in the film by name.
The jury also awarded a special prize for the 75th edition of Cannes to Belgian directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne – two-time winner of the Palme D’Or and a long-time regular at the festival – for their immigrant drama, Tori and Lokita.
Swedish-Egyptian filmmaker Tarik Saleh won best screenplay at Cannes for Boy From Heaven, a thriller set in Cairo’s Al-Azhar Mosque.
The award for best first film, the Camera d’Or, went to Riley Keough and Gina Gammell for War Pony, a drama about the Pine Ridge reservation, co-created with Oglala Lakota and Sicangu Lakota citizens.
Cannes returns post-COVID
Saturday’s closing ceremony drew the curtains on a Cannes that attempted to completely revive the annual French extravaganza, canceled in 2020 by the pandemic, and saw a modest crowd last year.
This year’s festival also took place against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, which sparked red carpet protests and a dialogue about the purpose of wartime cinema.
Last year, French body horror thriller Titane won the top prize at Cannes, making director Julia Decournau only the second female filmmaker to ever win the Palme D’Or.
In 2019, Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite triumphed in Cannes before doing the same at the Academy Awards.
This year, Cannes’ biggest Hollywood films – Elvis, Top Gun: Maverick, Three Thousand Years of Longing – played out of Cannes’ competition lineup of 21 films.
Their presence, however, helped restore some of Cannes’ glamor after the pandemic-crippled festivities over the past two years.