DSince no film can receive more than one award at Cannes, one can see something akin to disappointment alongside the joy on the faces of the early winners of the evening. Because the grand prize was out of the running for them. Fast forward to the exciting ending: The Golden Palm of the 76th Film Festival Gets Justine Triet’s gripping court drama “Anatomie d’une chute” – not entirely unexpected, but also not a clearly predetermined winner.
Sandra Hüller shines in the role of an author who is in the dock because she might have killed her husband. Or did he accidentally fall off the roof? Was it suicide? Just before the jury chair and winner of the Palme d’Or 2023, Ruben Östlund, reads out Triet’s name, Jane Fonda recalls her first visit to Cannes in the 1960s. At that time the festival was smaller and no female directors were represented, but nobody noticed that. This year there are seven women among the nominees, today you can call it historic, at some point it will be normal.
Little does she know as she says this that Triet will be the third win in the history of the competition by a woman. Julia Ducournau, who received the Palme d’Or for her feminist body horror film “Titane” in 2021, is also on the jury.
The Grand Prix, so to speak the silver palm, goes to the real favorite of the festival, Jonathan Glazer’s oppressive Auschwitz idyll „The Zone of Interest“. It’s a Holocaust film like you’ve never seen before. The loose film adaptation of the novel of the same name by Martin Amis, who died at the beginning of the festival but was able to see the film beforehand, as the Brit Glazer assured in his acceptance speech, tells the story of the Höss family, whose villa with a magnificent garden is directly attached to the Auschwitz concentration camp borders.
You don’t even have to crane your head to see the chimneys from the pool or the breakfast table, relentlessly blowing black smoke into the blue summer sky. But Hedwig, who is also played by Sandra Hüller, with whom the German is represented in the two most important films of the festival, is not aware of what is happening on the neighboring property.
You can see the idyll, but hear the horror: a threatening soundscape of screams, rattling trains and gunshots covers the colorful flower beds. The film has been a firm favorite since it premiered a few days ago, with critics still having seen half of the competing films. But as early as 2015, the jury in Cannes decided to only award the groundbreaking concentration camp drama “Son of Saul” with the grand jury prize instead of the main prize.
Even more prizes
The award for best director goes to Tran Anh Hùng for his food porn “The Pot-Au-Feu”, an aestheticized cooking show in which French national dishes are prepared in excessive detail. Some viewers like themselves in Jessica Hausner’s diet satire „Club Zero“ have longed to return, which unfortunately went empty handed. Tran Anh Hùng thanked his wife and corrected himself, picking up dialogue from the film, “er, I mean, my cook”.
Orlando Bloom introduces the jury’s Grand Prize, who inspires the audience with a French “bonsoir”, which he then destroys again by pronouncing “Cannes” in American when he exclaims “I love Cannes”. The Jury Prize goes to Aki Kaurismaki for his softly yet with great precision told working-class love story “Fallen Leaves”.
The screenplay award goes to Yuji Sakamoto for Hirokazu Kore-Eda’s multi-perspective school drama Monster, which also received the unofficial Queer Palm award. The Turkish actress Merve Dizdar was honored for her role as a teacher in “About Dry Grasses” and the Japanese “Kōji Yakusho” for his portrayal of a toilet cleaner in Wim Wenders as best actor „Perfect Days“.
The alternative section Un Certain Regard, which also judges German actress Paula Beer, won the previous night’s award for Molly Manning Walker’s refreshingly subtle MeToo exploration, starring a terrific Mia McKenna-Bruce. Kaouther Ben Hania’s “Four Daughters,” about Arab sisters, an original take on the documentary genre that will take your breath away, wins the Golden Eye Award for Best Documentary.
Wes Anderson’s America parable, which is a little too intoxicating with its self-reflective aesthetics „Asteroid City“ came up empty. Long-awaited public films such as “Indiana Jones and the Wheel of Destiny”, Scorsese „Killers of the Flower Moon“ and “Jeanne du Barry” starring Johnny Depp competed out of competition.
During the ceremony, which sums up 21 films in ten days and gathers just about every star imaginable, Quentin Tarantino takes the stage and says a remarkable sentence: “I got the concept of ‘guilty pleasure ‘ never understood. For me there is only ‘pleasure’.”
This also applies to the films that the jury awarded prizes this year, as in previous years. Above all, “Anatomie d’une chute”, a film not only for fans, but one that should also cast a spell over the masses with its Hitchcock-esque mixture of family thriller, artist character study and trial drama.