“Anatomy of a Fall” wins Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival

Justine Triet’s Anatomy of a Fall won the Palme d’Or at the 76th Cannes Film Festival in a ceremony Saturday that bestowed the festival’s prestigious top prize on an engrossing, rigorously plotted French courtroom drama that puts a marriage on trial.

The film by the 44-year-old French filmmaker, stars Sandra Hüller as a writer trying to prove her innocence in her husband’s death and is only the third film directed by a woman to win the Palme d’Or. One of the two previous winners, Julia Ducournau, was on this year’s jury.

Cannes’ Grand Prix, its second prize, went to Jonathan Glazer’s The Zone of Interest, a chilling Martin Amis adaptation about a German family living next door to Auschwitz. Hüller also stars in that film.

The awards were decided by a jury presided over by two-time Palme winner Ruben Östlund, the Swedish director who won the prize last year for Triangle of Sadness. The ceremony preceded the festival’s closing night film, the Pixar animation Elemental.

The award for Anatomy of a Fall gives the indie distributor Neon its fourth straight Palme winner. Neon, which acquired the film after its premiere in Cannes, also backed Triangle of Sadness, Ducournau’s Titane and Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite, which it steered to a best picture win at the Academy Awards.

Triet was presented the Palme by Jane Fonda, who recalled coming to Cannes in 1963 when, she said, there were no female filmmakers competing “and it never even occurred to us that there was something wrong with that.” This year, a record seven out of the 21 films in competition at Cannes were directed by women.

Triet said: “This award is dedicated to all the young women directors and all the young male directors and all those who cannot manage to shoot films today. We must give them the space I occupied 15 years ago in a less hostile world where it was still possible to make mistakes and start again”. 

The jury prize went to Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki’s Fallen Leaves, Best Actor went to veteran Japanese star Koji Yakusho, who plays a reflective, middle-aged Tokyo man who cleans toilets in Wim Wenders’ Perfect Days,

the Turkish actor Merve Dizdar took Best Actress for the Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s About Dry Grasses

Vietnamese-French director Tràn Anh Hùng took Best Director for Pot-au-Feu, a lush, foodie love story starring Juliette Binoche and Benoît Magimel and set in a 19th century French gourmet château.

Best Screenplay was won by Yuji Sakamoto for Monster, which also won the Queer Palm, an honour bestowed by journalists for the festival’s strongest LGBTQ-themed film.


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