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Cannes 2023: Competition winners – including what we saw with ‘The Zone of Interest’ leading the way for us (film pictures and winners’ list)

Cannes 2023: Competition winners – including what we saw with ‘The Zone of Interest’ leading the way for us (film pictures and winners’ list)

The Cannes Film Festival in general – the winners from the Competition and Un Certain Regard and other notable prizes from Cannes 76… a separate wrap piece, which is more about our own coverage, including video interviews from the festival, will be published shortly…

By Sailesh Ram

WHO remembers last year’s top prize Cannes Film Festival winner?

How many of you have seen ‘Triangle of Sadness’?

Last year, we stumbled into the film in Cannes (on a whim) enjoyed it (mostly) and thought nothing more about it – until it won the Palme d’Or – Cannes’ top prize.

It is a good film, funny, intelligent, and has some bite as a satire on the super rich and vacuous – who sometimes are given far more attention than they actually merit.

Yaya (Charlbi Dean Kriek) and Carl (Harris Dickinson) in last year’s Palme d’Or winner ‘Triangle of Sadness‘ by Ruben Östlund

Come full circle now to this year’s – 2023 Palme d’Or winner and it went to Justine Triet for her film, ‘Anatomie D’Une Chute’ (‘Anatomy of a Fall’).

Having not seen it, we can’t say too much about it, but the general consensus is that it is a strong film – cerebral, punchy and well-made.

It is also only the third time a woman director has taken the prize and is about a couple whose marriage is failing and then gets dissected over in court, when the husband plunges to his death from the ski chalet home the couple share in the French Alps. Incidentally, ‘Triangle of Sadness’ director Ruben Östlund was chairman of the Competition Jury this year and announced the winner at the Closing Ceremony of the festival on Saturday (May 27).

The second prize – The Grand Prix went to British director Jonathan Glazer for ‘The Zone of Interest’.

The Zone of Interest‘ by Jonathan Glazer
This year’s Grand Prix winner

We have seen Glazer’s film (and short reviews of all the films we saw will be published shortly) – and it is utterly chilling. It’s been made all the more poignant by the death of Martin Amis last week (May 19), from whose novel the film is adapted.

This is a difficult film – the subject matter is the Nazi atrocities – at Auschwitz in modern day Poland. And yet we see nothing of any that – except the shoes piled up as innocent folks left them behind and walked to the gas chambers. That is the only reference – the rest of the film is the camp commandant creating an idyllic home for his family. We touched on this in a mid-fest wrap and predicted a Palme (almost – it won The Grand Prix – see the list below) and don’t be surprised if gets a Bafta and is nominated for an Oscar. See it and remember that this is near history.

Dodin (Benoit Magimel) and Eugenie (Juliette Binoche) in
‘Pot Au Feu’ (Beef and vegetables)/The Passion of Dodin Bouffant

The Best Director prize went to Tranh Anh Hung, of Vietnamese origin, his film, ‘Pot-au-Feu’ or ‘The Passion of Dodin Bouffant’ is an ode to French gastronomy and focuses on the relationship between gourmet chef Dodin (Benoit Magimel) and Eugenie (Juliette Binoche) in a 19th century relationship drama. Eugenie is an imperious cook in her own right and alongside Dodin they create incredible dishes – many of which are staples of French gastronomy today. We did see this – it is surprisingly tame – in that Dodin and Eugenie enjoy a relatively chaste friendship that does develop into love and romance. It’s a little complicated. There is not very much dialogue especially at the beginning – if you love your food, you will love this. That said, Binoche is beautiful and captivating – more in our short review to come. Hung was given the Directors Prize.

‘Rapito’ by Marco Bellocchio

Of the other films in competition – we saw ‘Rapito’ (‘Kidnapped’) by Marco Bellocchio. In Italian and set in the 19th century, it’s an interesting tale of how a child born to a Jewish family is secretly baptised and then taken away by the Pope to live as a Catholic and then trained (quite forcibly in the beginning) to be a priest. More in our Cannes film reviews page.

We also saw Wes Anderson’s ‘Asteroid City’ – disappointing with a starry cast and loosely based on the 1950s ‘alien landing incident in the US’ which was allegedly supressed by the US military and government.

Motel manager (Steve Carell) in ‘Asteroid City
Pic: Courtesy of Pop. 87 Productions/Focus Features

We would have especially liked to have seen Briton’s Ken Loach’s ‘The Old Oak’, French Catherine Breillat’s ‘L’Été Dernier’ (‘Last Summer’) and Turkish Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s ‘About Dry Grasses’. Incidentally Breillat’s film is a remake of a Danish film, ‘Queen of Hearts’ which we saw at Sundance in 2019 and absolutely enjoyed for its twisting narrative.

Anne (Léa Drucker) and Theo (Samuel Kircher) i
n L’Été dernier (‘LAst Summer’)

This year, we didn’t get to see any films in the Un Certain Regard section but it’s heartwarming to see a British film triumph in this band, which is one down from Competition and mostly reserved for filmmakers with one or two films behind them and exhibiting huge promise. The reviews and buzz for Molly Manning Walker’s ‘How to Have Sex’ was apparent, even though it was one section we (as didn’t cover in any way.

‘Nehemich’ from La Cinef – read at bottom

Indian ‘Nehemich’ in La Cinef section

Competition winners

Palme d’or
Anatomie d’une chute (Anatomy of a Fall)
Director: Justine Triet

Grand Prix
The Zone of Interest
Jonathan Glazer

Best Director
Tran Anh Hùng
for ‘La passion de dodin bouffant (The pot-au-feu/The passion of Dodin Bouffant)
Jury Prize
Kuolleet Lehdet (Fallen eaves)
Aki Kaurismäki
Best Screenplay
Sakamoto Yuji
for Kaibutsu (Monster) Kore-Eda Hirokazu

Best Performance by an Actress
Merve Dizdar
in Kuru Otlar Ustune (About Dry Grasses)
Nuri Bilge Ceylan

Best Performance by an Actor
Kōji Yakusho
Perfect Days by Wim Wenders

Short films
 Palme d’or
Flóra Anna Buda

Special Mention
Fár (Intrusion)
Gunnur Martinsdóttir Schlüter

Un Certain Regard

Un Certain Regard Prize
How To Have Sex
Molly Manning Walker
1st film

Jury’s Prize
Les Meutes (Hounds)
1st film

Directing Prize
Asmae El Moudir
Kadib Abyad (The Mother of All Lies)
New Voice Prize
Augure (Omen)
1st film

Ensemble Prize
Crowrã (The Buriti Flower)
João Salaviza & Renée Nader Messora

Freedom Prize
Goodbye Julia
Mohamed Kordofani
1st film

*La Cinef
 First Prize
Norwegian Offspring
Marlene Emilie Lyngstad
Film School: Den Danske Filmskole, Denmark

Second Prize
Hwang Hyein
Korean Academy of Film Arts, South Korea

Third Prize
Ayyur (Moon)
Zineb Wakrim
Ésav Marrakech, Morocco

Caméra d’or (for a debut feature)
 Bên Trong Vo Ken Vang (Inside The Yellow Cocoon Shell)
Pham Thien An
Directors’ Fortnight section
L’œil d’or – Year of the documentary (overall)
 Les Filles D’olfa (Four Daughters)
Kaouther Ben Hania
Kadib Abyad (The Mother of All Lies)
Asmae El Moudir

*The Indian film, ‘Nehemich’ (Always – when not in quotation marks, this is an unofficial translation and we know in this case, the filmmakers prefer to keep the Marathi language title). Director Yudhajit Basu is a graduate of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in Pune and the La Cinef section is reserved only for nationally recognised film schools.

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Written by Asian Culture Vulture