Sunday 28 May 2023

Cannes 2023 - Awards and comments


A jury lead by Ruben Östlund, twice Palme d'Or winner and a controversial figure among some was bound to deliver some surprises and perhaps some upsets. Yet the surprise is that the jury has largely delivered their awards to the expecting films even not quite in the order we all expected. Compared to some infuriating awards in some past years (the 2016 edition!), it is a really pleasing list of awards

Jury Prize: Fallen Leaves by Aki Kaurismaki

I had predicted it would be one step up but it gets to show that this romantic comedy might have come across as too slight for some jury members (who were wrong in my humble opinion!). Still, it is destined to a great career on the international film circuit. 

Best Screenplay: Monster written by Yuki Sakamoto

The screenplay in Monster is arguably is indeed worthy of praise for its intricate yet ultimately rewarding nature, delivering an unexpected emotional gut punch at the end having subtly built up the story to it.

Best Direction: Tran Anh Hung for The Pot-au-feu

The only award I correctly predicted and a richly deserved one for a film destined to do well around the world for its celebration of French culture at its best and the wonderful performances of Juliette Binoche and Benoît Magical.

Grand Prix: The Zone of Interest by Jonathan Glazer

Although I was convinced it was destined for the top award, my slight reservation was about its arthouse, experimental nature that might have put some jury members off and just as I was explaining, this award is often reserved for more challenging work.

Best Actor: Koji Yakusho for Perfect Days

This really was not a competition! He absolutely deserves it.

Best Actress: Merve Dizdar in About Dry Leaves

Somehow a surprise as some expected Nuri Bilge Ceylan to win his second Palme d'Or with this. I missed it and cannot comment on Merve Dizdar performance. 

Palme d'Or: Anatomy of a Fall by Justine Triet

We are all expecting to see Anatomy of a Fall feature in these awards but few of us expected it to see iwin the top prize, with Justine Triet becoming only the third woman to win it and only two years after the second one, Julia Ducournau for Titans. Still, a well deserved award for a fascinating and compelling film and another win for France that had gone for many decades for winning the top prize before it started becoming a regular occurrence lately. It has to be seen if this will give the film a spotlight on the international scene (that many dialogues are actually in English could help) but it will certainly do well on the French market.

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