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The Square wins Palme d'Or at Cannes (2017)

The Square

Story by Jack Foley

SWEDISH film The Square, by writer-director Ruben Ostlund, has taken this year’s Palme d’Or prize, Cannes’ top honour.

The satire marks the follow-up to Ostlund’s 2014 international hit Force Majeure and explores Swedish art, commerce, politics and national identity. It stars Claes Bang, Dominic West and Elisabeth Moss.

Joaquin Phoenix was awarded the best actor prize for Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here, a critically-acclaimed look at a hit-man trying to save a teen prostitute, while Diane Kruger was honoured with the best actress award for her work on In The Fade.

Fatih Akin’s courtroom and revenge drama saw the German actress doing a German-language film for the first time.

Sofia Coppola was named best director for her film The Beguiled, which drew a mixed response from critics. The remake of a ’70s Clint Eastwood film, the film stars Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell and follows a Confederate soldier as he creates havoc in a home for women.

Maren Ade accepted the prize on behalf of Coppola, who was not present. She ended the speech by thanking director Jane Campion for being a role model.

Kidman herself was recognised with a special prize for the festival’s 70th anniversary. The actress appeared in competition projects Killing of a Sacred Deer and The Beguiled, along with the second season of Jane Campion’s Top of the Lake and the film How to Talk to Girls at Parties.

Actor Will Smith, who was on this year’s jury at Cannes, accepted the award in her absence, while a special video message from Kidman was presented.

The Grand Prix was awarded to 120 Beats per Minute by Robin Campillo, which follows “Eastern Boys” by mining his past as a member of AIDS activist group ACT UP in 1990s Paris.

In one of the award ceremony’s surprises, the best screenplay was awarded jointly to The Killing of a Sacred Deer (written by Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou) and Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here.

While Russian writer-director Andrey Zvyagintsev took the jury prize for his film Loveless.

The Palme d’Or for short film was given to A Gentle Night from Chinese director Qiu Yang, while the Camera d’Or, given to any best first film that played in the festival regardless of section, went to Leonor Serraille for Jeune Femme (Montparnasse-Bienvenüe).

This year’s festival saw 19 movies competing for the Palme d’Or this year – but was notable for missing a lot of high profile US releases.

Nevertheless, this year’s jury did include prestige names, including president Pedro Almodovar and members Will Smith, Jessica Chastain, Fan Bingbing, Agnès Jaoui, Park Chan-wook, Paolo Sorrentino and Gabriel Yared.

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