CANNES, France – The 70th edition of the Cannes Film Festival delivered a pair of surprises on Sunday, with Swedish film “The Square” winning the Palme d’Or and Sofia Coppola becoming the second woman in history to win the prize for best director for “The Beguiled.”
The irony and social criticism evident in Swedish director Ruben Östlund’s comedy “The Square” convinced the panel of judges headed by Spanish director Pedro Almodovar to present his work with the coveted award amid a host of women on the list of nominees.
Besides Coppola, for her erotic Southern gothic film, among the other women receiving awards were British director Lynne Ramsay for best screenplay for “You Were Never Really Here,” who shared the award with Greece’s Yorgos Lanthimos, Germany’s Diane Kruger, for best actress in “In the Fade,” and Nicole Kidman, who received a special prize for her varied work this year at Cannes.
Kidman starred in “The Beguiled,” but also appeared in three other projects at the festival, including Lanthimos’ psychological thriller “The Killing of a Sacred Deer,” the science fiction romance “How to Talk to Girls at Parties” and the SundanceTV miniseries “Top of the Lake: China Girl.”
Ramsay’s “You Were Never Really Here” tied for best screenplay with “Sacred Deer,” and Joaquin Phoenix took home the best actor award for his performance as a hitman going after child-sex traffickers in Ramsay’s work.
Kruger, the odds-on favorite, was honored for her work portraying a wife seeking revenge on the perpetrators of a terrorist bomb attack that killed her husband and son. “In the Fade,” in German with subtitles, was directed by Turkish-German filmmaker Fatih Akin.
Leonor Serraille received the Camera d’Or for best first feature for the French coming-of-age comedy “Jeune Femme.”