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Dheepan wins Palme d'Or at Cannes Film Festival (2015)


Story by Jack Foley

JACQUES Audiard’s Dheepan has taken the top prize at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, the coveted Palme d’Or.

Partly inspired by Montesquieu’s Persian Letters, the film chronicles the story of a former Tamil Tiger fighter as he looks for a new life in France.

Nineteen films competed in the main category but jury members – led by directors Joel and Ethan Coen and including Jake Gyllenhaal, Guillermo del Toro, Sophie Marceau and Sienna Miller – opted for Audiard’s dazzling film, which seemed to earn near unanimous approval for its triumph on Twitter from the various correspondents who had been covering the festival.

Other man winners included Holocaust drama Son of Saul, which took the runner-up Grand Prize for its director Laszlo Nemes. The film also won a Fipresci Prizes earlier in the week.

In an unusual move, the best actress trophy was shared by two actresses – Rooney Mara for Carol and Emmanuelle Bercot for Mon Roi.

Todd Haynes, who directed Carol, the tale of two women – one of them married – who have a love affair – accepted the prize on behalf of Mara.

The best actor prize, meanwhile, went to Vincent Lindon for his work in Stephane Brize’s The Measure of a Man. The film follows Lindon’s unemployed central character as he starts a new job that soon sees him facing a moral dilemma.

Hou Hsiao-Hsien won the best directing prize for The Assassin, while the jury prize went to The Lobster, a surreal drama from Yorgos Lanthimos, starring Colin Farrell.

Michel Franco won best screenplay for Chronic, his English-language debut starring Tim Roth as a nurse specializing in terminal illness homecare, while the Camera d’Or, which honours the best first feature film, was given to Cesar Augusto Acevedo for his feature, Land and Shade (La Tierra y La Sombra).

The ceremony also saw director, writer and visual artist Agnes Varda presented with an honorary Palme d’Or in recognition of her work. She received a standing ovation from the audience, having followed in the footsteps of Woody Allen, in 2002, Clint Eastwood, in 2009, and Bernardo Bertolucci, in 2011, in receiving the accolade.