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Cannes winners: Justine Triet and two other women directors who won Palme d’Or

The prestigious 76th Cannes Film Festival concluded on 27 May 2023 with the announcement of the award winners for the top prizes. French filmmaker Justine Triet won the Palme d’Or for her film Anatomy of a Fall, becoming only the third woman director to win the award after New Zealand’s Jane Campion and France’s Julia Ducournau since the festival began in 1946.

Including Triet, a record seven women directors were in the running for the highest honours at the glamorous film festival held in the coastal town on the French Riviera. The others were Alice Rohrwacher for La chimera, Catherine Breillat for Last Summer, Catherine Corsini for Homecoming, Jessica Hausner for Club Zero, Kaouther Ben Hania for Four Daughters and Ramata-Toulaye Sy for Banel & Adama.

All the details about Justine Triet, Jane Campion and Julia Ducournau

Justine Triet calls her win ‘surprising’

Receiving the award for her film, Justine Triet said that it is “surprising” that she is only the third woman to have been awarded the Palme d’Or.

“We’re at the dawn of deep-seated changes in this respect,” she said.

Actor and activist Jane Fonda introduced the award at the ceremony. She said that one day, it would not be historic but normal for women to win.

“We have a long way to go. But still, we have to celebrate change when it happens,” Fonda said.

Triet’s film was competing with 20 others, including movies by previous Palme d’Or winners Hirokazu Kore-eda, Ken Loach and Wim Wenders.

She had been previously nominated for Palme d’Or for Sibyl in 2019 — the year when South Korean auteur Bong Joon-ho created history by winning the award for Parasite.

What is Anatomy of a Fall about?

Anatomy of a Fall Cannes Winners Justine Triet
Image: Courtesy of IMDb

The film follows a German writer named Sandra (Sandra Hüller) who lives a secluded life in a remote town in the French Alps with her French husband Samuel (Samuel Theis), a writer, and their blind 11-year-old son Daniel (Milo Machado-Graner).

Samuel is found dead below the chalet the family resides in. The police treat the death as suspicious, and Sandra becomes the main suspect. As the trial progresses, private details about the personal life of the couple emerge before the public.

The film was also in the running for the independent award Queer Palm, which was won by Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Japanese movie Monster.

For which film did Jane Campion win Palme d’Or?

Jane Campion The Piano
Image: Courtesy of IMDb

Campion was the first female director to win the Palme d’Or at Cannes. She won it in 1993 for her film The Piano.

The film revolves around a mute young Scottish woman in the mid-19th century who travels to New Zealand with her young daughter and a piano after her father arranges her marriage to a frontiersman. Starring Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, Sam Neill and Anna Paquin, the film won Campion the Academy Award for Best Screenplay – Written Directly for the Screen.

But Campion wasn’t the only winner of the Palme d’Or in 1993. The award was shared with Chinese filmmaker Chen Kaige for his groundbreaking movie Farewell My Concubine, starring Gong Li and Hong Kong icon Leslie Cheung.

For which film did Julia Ducournau win the Palme d’Or?

Julia Ducournau Titane
Image: Courtesy of IMDb

Julia Ducournau is the second woman to have won the Palme d’Or and is the first female director to have won the award solo. Her win came at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival for Titane, a follow-up to her debut Raw.

Starring Vincent Lindon and newcomer Agathe Rousselle, the body horror film is about a woman named Alexia, a serial killer, who poses as the missing son of an old firefighter following a series of inexplicable situations.

Who else won the top prizes at the 76th Cannes Film Festival?

A total of 21 films were competing for the top prizes at Cannes.

While British filmmaker Jonathan Glazer’s The Zone of Interest took home the Grand Prix prize, Aki Kaurismaki’s Fallen Leaves won the Jury Prize. Vietnamese-born French filmmaker Tran Anh Hung won the best director award for The Pot au Feu.

Japanese actor Kōji Yakusho was adjudged best actor for his role of a Tokyo toilet cleaner in Wim Wenders’ Japanese-German film Perfect Days.

Merve Dizdar became the first Turkish to win the best actress, which she did for playing the role of a teacher in an isolated village in the Turkish film About Dry Grasses.

Sakamoto Yûji won the best screenplay award for Monster.

Hero and Featured images: Courtesy of Loic Venance/AFP

Cannes winners: Justine Triet and two other women directors who won Palme d’Or

Manas Sen Gupta writes at the intersection of tech, entertainment and history. His works have appeared in publications such as The Statesman, Myanmar Matters, Hindustan Times and News18/ETV. In his spare time, Manas loves studying interactive charts and topographic maps. When not doing either, he prefers reading detective fiction. Spring is his favourite season and he can happily eat a bowl of noodles any time of the day.


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