Follow Us on Twitter

Ken Loach's I, Daniel Blake wins Palme d'Or at Cannes (2016)

I, Daniel Blake

Story by Jack Foley

VETERAN British filmmaker Ken Loach’s latest film, I, Daniel Blake, has taken the coveted Palme d’Or at Cannes, the top award at the annual festival.

The welfare state drama follows the fortune of Daniel Blake (played by Dave Johns), a 59-year-old joiner in the North-East of England, who falls ill and requires state assistance.

While he endeavours to overcome the red tape involved in getting this assistance, he meets single mother Katie (Hayley Squires), who, in order to escape a homeless persons’ hostel, must take up residence in a flat 300 miles away.

Loach, who many people thought had retired from filmmaking prior to making his latest, said the film should resonate with many people in Britain. But he also maintains the problem is Europe-wide.

Speaking at the festival, he said: “There is a conscious cruelty in the way we’re organising our lives now. The most vulnerable people are told that their poverty is their own fault.

“If you have no work, it’s your fault that you haven’t got a job. It’s not just a few, it’s tens of thousands and across Europe, it’s massive. It’s deeply shocking that this is happening in the heart of our world.”

Loach, who turns 80 next month, has long been a favourite son of the festival. He previously won the Palme d’Or for The Wind That Shakes The Barley but regularly screens his films in the south of France.

A total of 21 films competed in the main competition, which has been screening the movies over the past week and a half.

Of the other prizes handed out at the glittering awards ceremony on Sunday, May 22, 2016, Xavier Dolan’s It’s Only The End of the World won the Grand Prix prize.

Dolan’s film, starring Marion Cotillard, Lea Seydoux and Vincent Cassel, follows the story of a young man who returns home to tell his family he’s dying.

There was also a notable triumph for British filmmaker Andrea Arnold, whose American debut American Honey won the jury prize.

The film sees Sasha Lane starring as a teen runaway who takes up with a traveling youth crew. It co-stars Shia LaBeouf and Riley Keough.

The best director prize was shared by two filmmakers: Cristian Mungiu for Graduation and Olivier Assayas for Personal Shopper.

Mungiu has previously won the Palme d’Or for 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days in 2007. His film, Graduation, followed the fortunes of an overbearing dad who is desperate to get his daughter into a British university at any price.

Assayas’ Personal Shopper, meanwhile, stars US actress Kristen Stewart as a woman who is a medium and searching for her dead twin brother. The two previously worked together on the Cesar-winning Clouds of Sils Maria.

Jaclyn Jose, the star of Ma’ Rosa, was crowned best actress for her performance as a woman who owns a convenience store in a poor neighbourhood of Philippines’ capital Manila. The film is directed by Filipino auteur Brillante Mendoza.

While the best actor honour went to Shahab Hosseini for his performance in Asghar Farhadi’s The Salesman, which also took the award for best screenplay.

The Camera d’Or, which honours the best first feature film, was awarded to Divines, a film by Houda Benyamina that premiered in Directors’ Fortnight, while Timecode, directed by Juanjo Gimenez, won the short film award.

Another short film, The Girl Who Danced With The Devil, by Joao Paulo Miranda Maria, received a special distinction.

The honorary Palme d’Or was given to Jean-Pierre Leaud, the French actor who starred in François Truffaut’s series of films that began with 1959’s The 400 Blows.

This year’s Cannes jury was chaired by president George Miller and included Kirsten Dunst, Mads Mikkelsen, Vanessa Paradis and Donald Sutherland on its jury.