Raw (2016) director Julia Ducournau has become only the second woman to ever win the Palme d’Or at the Festival du Film de Cannes (Cannes International Film Festival).
The French screenwriter-director was revealed as the winner of the 2021 film festival’s highest prize by accident when head juror Spike Lee (Da 5 Bloods) let slip that the sophomore outing for the renowned Parisian director had been named the winner ahead of the award’s official announcement.
Ducournau has thus made history in becoming the first woman to win the Palme d’Or since Jane Campion was awarded for The Piano almost 30 years ago in 1993. It is also only the second time a woman has ever been awarded what is widely considered to be the most important annual film award that the art form has to offer.
Ducournau’s Titane, a body-horror/thriller starring Vincent Lindon and Agathe Rousselle, follows a quite spectacular lineage of winners that includes Taxi Driver, Paris, Texas, Sex, Lies and Videotape and Pulp Fiction.
The French-language feature becomes the first winner of the Palme d’Or this decade after Cannes cancelled their 2020 festival due to the Coronavirus pandemic. It follows a recent lineage of impressive winners that includes Parasite, Shoplifters and I, Daniel Blake.
In response to receiving the award from Sharon Stone and jury leader Spike Lee, Ducournau said:
“There is so much beauty and emotion to be found in what cannot be pigeonholed. Thank you to the Jury for calling for more diversity in our film experiences and in our lives. And thank you to the Jury for letting the monsters in.”
The jury, which also comprised of Maggie Gyllenhaal, Mélanie Laurent, Song Kang-ho, Tahar Rahim, Mati Diop, Jessica Hausner, Kleber Mendonça Filho and Mylène Farmer, also awarded American actor Caleb Landry Jones (Get Out) the Best Actor award for his performance in new Justin Kurzel (Macbeth; Assassin’s Creed) film Nitram, whilst the Grand Prix was shared by Ghahreman (A Hero) from Asghar Farhadi (A Separation) and Hytti No 6 (Compartment Number 6) from Juho Kuosmanen (The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki).
Here are the winners of the 2021 Cannes International Film Festival awards:
Palme d’Or – Titane (Julia Ducournau)
Grand Prix – Ghahreman (Asghar Farhadi); Hytti No 6 (Juho Kuosmanen)
Best Director – Leos Carax (Annette)
Best Screenplay – Ryûsuke Hamaguchi & Takamasa Oe (Drive My Car)
Jury Prize – Memoria (Apichatpong Weerasethakul); Ha’Berech (Nadav Lapid)
Best Performance by an Actress – Renate Reinsve (The Worst Person in the World)
Best Performance by an Actor – Caleb Landry Jones (Nitram)
Palme d’Or – Tian Xia Wu Ya (All the Crows in the World) (Tang Yi)
Special Mention – Céu de Agosto (August Sky) (Jasmin Tenucci)
Featured image: Festival de Cannes (Twitter)