Who Is Justine Triet, This Year’s Palme d’Or Winner?

Who Is Justine Triet, This Year’s Palme d’Or Winner?

Who is Justine Triet, the acclaimed director behind this year’s Palme d’Or triumph?

Anatomy of a Fall had its world premiere at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Palme d’Or and, rather charmingly, the Palm Dog Award (for Messi as Snoop). Its director, Justine Triet who co-wrote the screenplay with Arthur Harari, is only the third woman to have won the award. So who is she?

A graduate of the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, her films, mostly comedy-dramas until now, explore the role and experiences of the individual within the group. In 2013, her first feature film, La Bataille de Solferino (Age of Panic), was nominated for the César for best first feature film. In Bed with Victoria followed in 2016 and received nominations for Césars for both Best Film and Best Original Screenplay. Then in 2019, Sibyl premiered at Cannes, competing for the Palme d’Or.

Justine Triet © Les Films Pelleas

And this year, she won the Palme d’Or, with Anatomy of a Fall, a Hitchcockian thriller, about Sandra, a German writer, who lives with her husband, Samuel, and their visually-impaired son, Daniel, in a remote mountain chalet in the French Alps. When Samuel falls to his death in mysterious circumstances, the investigation cannot determine whether it’s suicide or foul play. Sandra is ultimately arrested for murder and the trial puts the family and its rocky relationships under the microscope – especially when Daniel takes to the stand.

“I wanted to make a film about the defeat of a couple,” says Triet. “The idea was to tell the story of the fall of a body, in a technical way, to make it the image of the fall of the couple, of a love story.”

She adds: “There is an obsession with falling in the film, first in a very physical, concrete way. How does it feel when something falls? This idea of the weight of the body, of a falling body, I have had it in my head for a long time, especially since the credits of Mad Men, this man who never stops falling…”

The film also plays cleverly with languages – French, English, German-adding a layer of complexity to the trial. “It continues to feed the distance we feel from Sandra, a foreigner judged in France who must bend to the language of her husband and her son,” muses Triet. “It interested me to look at the life of a couple who do not speak the same language.”

Justine Triet’s 10-second CV

Name: Justine Triet

Born: July 17, 1978 in Fécamp in the Seine- Maritime department.

Early career

Having graduated from the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, Triet started out by making shorts including Sur Place (2007) shot during the student demonstrations, and Solferino (2008), which was shot during the presidential elections.

Which film should I watch first?

In Bed with Victoria, starring Virginie Efira and Vincent Lacoste. A comedy-drama, it tells the story of Victoria Spick, a criminal defence attorney on the verge of an emotional breakdown, who bumps into an old friend who is accused by his girlfriend of attempted murder. The only witness is the alleged victim’s dog.

C’est pas vrai!

Triet wrote the Palme d’Or winning movie Anataomy of a Fall with her partner, the French filmmaker Arthur Harari, with whom she has two children. The couple have frequently worked together over the years.

From France Today Magazine


Lead photo credit : Anatomy-of-a-fall © Les Films Pelleas

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