The 70th anniversary Cannes Film Festival was a wee bit different, and the awards ceremony was also unconventional. The jury headed Pedro Almodóvar gave a couple of unexpected prizes, a tie for screenplay and a special award for Nicole Kidman. It was Nicole’s day, and she appeared in four titles at the competition, “The Killing of a Sacred Deer,” “The Beguiled,” Season II of “Top of the Lake” and “How to Talk to Girls at Parties.”
The coveted Palme d’Or award was given to Swedish satire “The Square” while the best Director award was bagged by Sofia Coppola, only the second woman to win the best director award. It was a surprising for the comedy to win a prize and even the Swedish filmmaker was surprised and exclaimed in delight. Claes Bang plays a museum director in “The Square” whose calm and uneventful life is turned upside down by a series of events. The film is an exploration of the moral dilemmas, and it is intelligent, witty, and funny and deals with the political correctness of dictatorship and those trapped by it.
Coppola won the best director award for the remake of Don Siegel’s 1971 Civil War drama, “The Beguiled.” The film is about a Union Soldier hiding out in a Southern girls’ school. The wounded soldier is played by Colin Farrell and also stars Nicole Kidman and Kirsten Dunst. It was Coppola’s most feminine work till date and remade the thriller from a female point of view. The only other woman who won the prize was Soviet director Yuliya Ippolitovna Solntseva in 1961.
The best actress award was won by Diane Kruger while and Joaquin Phoenix won the best male actor award. Kruger won the prize for her mesmerizing performance as Fatih Akin’s “In the Fade,” whose son and Turkish husband is killed in a bomb attack. It is based on a true story in Germany where a series of killing shook Germany. An initial botched up investigation finally revealed that it was the work of a far-right wing group.
Phoenix won the best actor award for his moving portrayal of a tormented war hero who tries to save a young girl from a sex trafficking ring.