Palme d’Or Winner Makes History at Cannes Festival

Palme d’Or Winner Makes History at Cannes Festival

Justine Triet’s ‘Anatomy of a Fall’ [Anatomie d’Une Chute] won the Palme d’Or at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival, making Triet the third woman in the history of the competition to win the prestigious award.

The courtroom drama is praised for its careful examination of the trial of a young mother, Sandra, charged in the suspicious death of her husband Samuel who was found dead at the foot of their home in a remote mountain location. Their 11-year-old son Daniel attends his mother’s trial, which becomes a veritable autopsy of the couple’s relationship.

Triet said she wanted to make a film about the defeat of a couple, “the idea was to tell the story of the fall of a body in a technical way, to turn it into an image of the fall of a couple, of a love story”. The director said that the film is also about questions that were on her mind and are not dealt with much in film, “the way couples share time, with the child at the centre. What do we owe each other? What do we give each other? Is reciprocity possible?”

The jury, headed by Swedish Director Ruben Östlund, awarded the Grand Prix to The Zone of Interest, directed by Jonathan Glazer, a chilling tale of a German family living next door to a concentration camp.

Other winners included Merve Dizdar, for Best Performance by an Actress in Kuru Otlar Ustune [Les Herbes Sèches], Kōji Yakusho, for Best Performance by an Actor, for his portrayal of a working-class Tokyo man in Wim Wenders’ Perfect Days, with the Best Screenplay award going to Sakamoto Yûji for Kore-eda Hirokazu’s Monster.

Among other notable highlights, the festival opened with the eagerly anticipated period drama Jeanne du Barry, featuring Johnny Depp as Louis XV, and Martin Scorcese’s debut of his epic western Killers of the Flower Moon was met by a nine-minute standing ovation.

Overall, the 76th Cannes Film Festival was notable for its record showing of female directors. Jane Fonda, who presented the Palme d’Or award to Justine Triet, remembered “coming to Cannes in 1963 with no female filmmakers in competition”… “and it never even occurred to us that there was anything wrong with that”. This year, a third of the 21 films in the running at Cannes were directed by women, a sign of the growing recognition of women in the film industry.

Lead photo credit : Palme d'Or award © Valentina Claret | Cannes Film Festival

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Sylvia Edwards Davis is a writer and correspondent based in France with a focus on business and culture. A member of the France Media editorial team, Sylvia scans the cultural landscape to bring you the most relevant highlights on current events, art exhibitions, museums and festivals.

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