It was The Cannes Film Festival crowned Julia Ducornu for her contemporary film “Titan”, which made the French filmmaker the second female director to win the Palme d’Or in the history of the festival, which concluded its 74th session on Saturday evening, after its absence last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The jury, whose selection of Spike Lee to chair was a historic step in itself, as the first black American to take on this task, awarded Docorno, 37, the youngest director to participate in the competition.
The French director received the Palme d’Or 28 years after it was awarded to Jeanne Campion for her film “The Piano”.
Julia Docorno thanked the jury for “recognizing the urgent and profound need for a more flexible and inclusive world,” and for “inviting greater diversity in our cinematic experiences and in our lives.” “Thank you also to the jury for letting the monsters in,” she added.
She added, “I realize that shortage is a crisis, and that the brutality that frightens some and focuses on my work is a weapon and a force to move the walls of normativeness that lock and separate us.”
Giving Docorno this award is a very important message for the film industry, which has witnessed more than ever a four-year reconsideration of the status of women and gender equality, following the case of former film producer Harvey Weinstein and then the “MeToo” movement.
Only four of the 24 films that were competing for the Palme d’Or were directed by women.
The award ceremony was marked by a mistake made by Spike Lee, who immediately announced the identity of the Palme d’Or winner while he was supposed to reveal the name of the best actor award winner.
He soon apologized to the film crew, saying, “I’m like someone who missed the target (…) I’m sorry, so let them forget Spike Lee.”
On the artistic level, the festival chose again, through its coronation, “Titan”, which is characterized by a contemporary style that includes the greatest amount of violence, melancholy and feminist tendencies, to award the prize to one of the works known as “genre films”, after its coronation in 2019 the South Korean movie “Parasite” Bong Joon.
The film shocked the audience at the festival this year, as it was the fiercest among the works participating in the competition, and it was not well received by many critics.
The director made a strong impact at Cannes with her first feature film “Ru”, a shocking story about a veterinary student who is transformed into a cannibal. This work made Ducornu the most prominent name in this category of dark films in France.
On the other side of the Atlantic, the director had the support of Nate Shyamalan, one of the most prominent names in the field of horror films, and he commissioned her to direct two episodes of his series “Servant”.
In another sign of opening up to the younger generation, the jury awarded two awards for best acting performance to an actor and actress in their thirties.
On the women’s side, Norwegian Rinat Rensvi, 33, won the award for her role in the film “The Worst Person in the World” by Joachim Trier, where she plays the role of a young woman searching for herself.
The film explores the various issues that concern the heroine of the work, Julie, from desire to fidelity, through motherhood, the relationship with parents, and the differences between generations…
All these treatments are based on the main contemporary themes: the place of women in society, the environment, and the digital invasion.
As for the male actors, the jury awarded the Best Actor award to Caleb Landry Jones, 31, for his performance in the movie “Nitram”, in which he embodies the role of a young man with borderline personality disorder preparing to commit one of the most horrific mass murders in Australian history.
This year, the festival devoted a large space to young filmmakers at the expense of other veterans, some of whom have been working behind the camera since the 1970s, such as Paul Verhoeven, whose film “Benedetta” about a medieval gay nun disappointed the followers.
Or Nani Moretti, who was aspiring to win the Palme d’Or for the second time with his movie “Tree Piani”, but left the competition empty-handed.
Two directors equally shared the grand prize from the jury, namely Finnish Juho Koosmanen and Iranian Asghar Farhadi, who called in his speech on the stage of the closing ceremony of the festival to “promote awareness” in his country.
More broadly, this year’s Cannes Film Festival succeeded in introducing changes that were praised by various parties: a remarkable feminist attitude was recorded during the events of the film event.
Climate is also more important than ever, with a special set of films about the environment, as is the case with Issei Maiga who explored her family’s history with “Walk on Water” that addresses the issue of access to this vital resource. The climate issue remains an important issue for the festival, which still has a long way to go to continue reducing its environmental footprint.
The closing ceremony was also an occasion to award an honorary Palme to the Italian director Marco Bellocchio, who made a very personal documentary called “Marx Can Wait”, after five decades of committed work, in which he did not hesitate to criticize the military and religious institutions.
After presenting the awards, the Festival de Cannes will finally present the most anticipated French films this year, “OSS 117, Alert Rouge en Afrique Noir” directed by Nicolas Bedos with Jean Dujardin, Pierre Nene and Fatou Ndiaye.
On Friday evening, the festival awarded its prize in the category “A Look” to Russian Kira Kovalenko for her film “Unlocking the Feasts,” which tells the story of a young woman in a closed society in North Ossetia.