‘Dheepan’ wins Palme d’Or in upset Cannes finale
May 26, 2015 11:29 am
The 68th Cannes Film Festival was brought to a surprising close Sunday with Jacques Audiard’s Sri Lankan refugee drama taking the festival’s coveted top honor, the Palme d’Or.
The choice of “Dheepan,” as selected by a jury led by Joel and Ethan Coen, left some critics scratching disappointed by the thriller climax of Audiard’s film. “Dheepan” is about a trio of Sri Lankans who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country and are settled in a violent housing project outside Paris.
“This isn’t a jury of film critics,” Joel Coen told reporters after the awards ceremony, alongside fellow jurors like Guillermo del Toro and Jake Gyllenhaal. “This is a jury of artists who are looking at the work.”
Audiard, springing to the podium at the Palais des Festivals, accepted the award with warm gratitude, bowing to the jury. He was joined by the makeshift parents of his film: Kalieaswari Srinivasan and Antonythasan Jesuthasan, who himself was Tamil Tiger child soldier before finding political asylum in France.
The runner-up prize, the Grand Prix, went to “Son of Saul,” a grim Holocaust drama by first-time Hungarian director László Nemes. English actress Sienna Miller and Canadian actor Xavier Dolan, both jury members, sounded especially moved by “Son of Saul.” Miller called it “breathtaking” and an extraordinary accomplishment for a first-time filmmaker.
Hou Hsiao-Hsien, the masterful 68-year-old Taiwanese filmmaker, won best director for his first feature in eight years: “The Assassin,” a lushly painterly martial arts drama.
The best actress prize was split but not the way some expected. It was given to both Rooney Mara, half of the romantic pair of Todd Haynes’ ‘50s drama “Carol,” and Emmanuelle Bercot, the French star of the roller coaster marriage drama “My King.” Any split was presumed to go to Mara and her “Carol” co-star, Cate Blanchett.
Best actor was awarded to Vincent Lindon, the veteran French actor of Stéphane Brizé’s “The Measure of a Man.” He plays a man struggling to make a living after a long period of unemployment. The visibly moved Lindon won over some big-name competition, including Michael Caine, the star of Paolo Sorrentino’s unrewarded “Youth,” a wry, melancholy portrait of old age.
Lindon’s award added to a banner year at Cannes for France, which had five films out of the 19 in competition and went home with three awards.
Yorgos Lanthimos, a Greek filmmaker working in English for the first time, took the jury prize for his “The Lobster,” a deadpan dystopian comedy, starring Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz, about a near-future where unmarried singles are turned into the animal of their choice.
“Chronic,” an understated drama about a home-care nurse (Tim Roth) for the terminally ill, took best screenplay for Mexican writer-director Michel Franco. Franco and Roth met three years ago when Roth, serving on a Cannes jury, helped award Franco the Un Certain Regard prize. “It’s a Cannes story,” said Franco.
The Camera d’Or, Cannes award for best first feature film, went to “La Tierra Y la Sombra.” César Augusto Acevedo’s debut, which played in the Critics Week section, is about an old farmer returning home to tend to his gravely ill son. – AP