Exceptional year for French filmmakers at 68th Cannes Festival
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Three out of five French films in competition won prizes at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival which ended on Sunday night with the awards ceremony. The nine-member jury cochaired by Joel and Ethan Coen opted for a generational mix with a leaning towards social realism.
Dheepan, Jacques Audiard’s film about Sri Lankan refugees in France, won the top prize at Cannes. Audiard is one of the established filmmakers and also a regular at Cannes for the past 15 years and more.
The second prize, the Grand Prix went to Son of Saul, a debut feature by Hungarian Lazlo Nemes, a historical drama set in a Nazi concentration camp.
The Lobster directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, which could be described as a science-fiction film as it projects into the future, won the the Jury prize – the prize Xavier Dolan, one of this year’s jury had won for Mommy last year.
Best Director Award went to Taiwan’s Hou Hsiao-hsien for his visually rich Nieyinniang (The Assassin).
Best Scenario went to Mexican Michel Franco for Chronic which an auteur film about looking after people with terminal illness and starring Tim Roth. Franco handles a sad subject with care and achieves a well-presented, dignified film.
Best Female Actor went to France’s Emmanuelle Bercot for her role as a woman in a self-destructive love affair in Maïwenn’s Mon Roi (My King). On receiving her prize, unable to hold back an immediate flood of tears, Bercot said she’d had “the craziest week of her life”. She directed the festival’s opening film, Standing Tall.
Best Male Actor this year is Vincent Lindon. One of France’s outstanding actors with a very long list of lead roles to his credit, Lindon told the audience he’d never received an award before. In French director Stephane Brizé’s La Loi du Marché (The Measure of a Man), Lindon convincingly plays a man of about 50 who has lost his job and goes through all the hoops to find work. The film has a distinct documentary feel some of the time, Lindon and Brizé working with non-professional actors with Lindon hardly ever out of the frame. Lindon speaking earlier to RFI, had described The Measure of a Man as a “political film”.
On the sidelines, the Queer Palm award, established in 2010, went to Todd Haynes’ accomplished film Carol, starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, who shared the best female actor prize in the Palm awards with Bercot.
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