This evening, July 17, 2021, the 74th Cannes Film Festival ended. This year’s festival was two months later than average and has been highly anticipated since last year’s cancellation. The jury watched 24 feature films from the Competition and presented the awards at the Closing Ceremony. Spike Lee almost revealed the Palme D’or winner too soon.
During the Closing Ceremony Marco Bellochio, an Italian director, was awarded an Honorary Palme d’Or to recognize his remarkable filmmaking career. Bellochio received a standing ovation from the audience, another of many long-standing ovations given by the festival’s masked crowd. Bellochio stated that imagination and courage were the essential ingredients for making films. Jodie Foster received an Honorary Palme d’Or during the Opening Ceremony for her extraordinary career.
The Palme d’Or 2021 winner will be the second female director to receive the award. Out of 24 films submitted, only four were chosen for Competition.
The Palme d’or was presented by Sharon Stone to Director Julia Ducournau. Ducournau is the first woman to win the Palme d’Or for the second time in 74 years. Jane Campion and Chen Kaige won the prize in 1993.
As Ducournau accepted the prize, Vincent Lindon, Agathe Rousselle, and their two leads joined her on stage. It was a massive success at the screening, with many praising it but others shaming it, as Ducournau noted.
Titane Ducournau’s sequel to her horror-themed debut film Raw. Critics and others have described Titan as one of the most violent and shocking films in Competition this year. It was also compared to David Cronenberg’s Crash. Ducournau expressed her wish for more diversity in her acceptance speech.
Director Oliver Stone presented the Grand Prix to two films: Asghar Farhadi’s A Hero and Juho Koosmanen’s Compartment Ndeg6. A Hero is the story of Rahim, who was imprisoned for not being able to repay a loan. Amazon Studios acquired U.S. rights for the Iranian film. The compartment is an adaptation from the novel by Rosa Liksom. Kuosmanen was awarded the Un Certain Regard Prize in 2016 for his debut feature, The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki.
Caleb Landry Jones was awarded the Prix de interpretation masculine for Best Actor for his role as Nitram, directed by Justin Kurzel. It is about the 1996 Port Arthur massacre that took place in Australia.
Renate Reinsve was awarded the Prix de interpretation feminine for Joachim Trier’s Worst Person in The World. The film follows Julie as she faces an existential crisis when she turns thirty.
Two films were also presented with the Prix du Jury (Jury Prize). Le Genou d’Ahed (Ahed’s Knee), directed by Nadav Lepid; and Memoria, directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul and starring Tilda Swanton and Jeanne Balibar. Rosamund Pike presented the prize in perfect French.
Leos Carax was awarded the Prix de la mise en scene for his Sparks musical Annette starring Marion Cotillard and Adam Driver. Ron Mael, Russell Mael (from Sparks), co-wrote and accepted the prize. Amazon Prime will release the film in theaters on August 6 and digitally on August 20.
Ryusuke Taguchi and Takamasa Obe were awarded the Prix du Scenario (Best Screenplay), presented to them by Andrea Arnold. This film is a three-hour-long adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s short story.
On July 16, the 2021 Un Certain Regard section, which focuses on discovering emerging filmmakers, was held. Director and screenwriter Andrea Arnold headed the Jury for Un Certain Regard. It included five other jurors: director Mounia Madour, Elsa Zylberstein (actress), director Daniel Burman, director Michael Covino, and director and actor Michael Covino. According to Andrea Arnold, the Un Certain Regard Prize went to Kira Kovalenko’s Razzhimaya Kulaki (Unclenching the Fists), which was a Russian drama that exhibited “explosions of originality. physicality. and feeling”. MUBI acquired the film for distribution in North America and Latin America.
The Jury Prize was presented to Sebastian Meise’s Grosse Freiheit (Great Freedom), starring Franz Rogowski & Georg Friedrich. The Austrian film about a man kept in prison for being homosexual was set in postwar Germany. MUBI also purchased the film for distribution in North America, Ireland, Turkey, and Latin America.
Ensemble Prize for Hafsia Hearti’s Bonne Mere (“Good Mother”) was awarded. Teodora Ana Mihai’s debut film La Civil won the Courage Prize. The Prize of Originality was awarded to the Icelandic film lamb, directed and starring Noomi Rapace. The U.S. rights were purchased by A24 and released in the U.K. and other countries by MUBI.
The Camera d’Or was presented to Murina by Antoneta Amat Kusijanovic for the best feature film.