Cannes: the Swedish film “Triangle of Sadness” took the top prize of a lackluster edition

Ruben Ostlund, director of the Swedish film “Triangle of Sadness”, celebrates winning the Palme d’Or. REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

From Cannes. The movie Triangle of Sadnessfrom Swedish Rubén Östlundwon the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, the second in the career of the director who has already won this same award with The Squarein 2017. The film, divided into three episodes, is a satire about the rich and famous who travel aboard a chaotic luxury cruise ship where everything goes wrong and they end up bringing out the worst in themselves.

In an award ceremony that included two shared awards, the Grand Jury Prize was divided between Stars at Noonof Claire Dennis y Closeof Lukas Dhont (more on those films, below). The award for best direction went to the Korean director Park Chan-wook for his ambitious and romantic thriller Decision to Leave while the screenplay award went to the Egyptian film Boy From Heavenof Tarik Saleh.

The winners pose with their awards at the closing ceremony of the Cannes festival.  REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier
The winners pose with their awards at the closing ceremony of the Cannes festival. REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

Others important accolades went to the Dardenne brothers, whose career was celebrated with the Cannes 75th Anniversary Special Award. The Jury Prize was shared by EOby the veteran Polish filmmaker Jerzy Skolimovskiy The eight mountainsfilm shot in Italy by Belgian directors Felix Van Groeningen y Charlotte Vandermeesch.

Vincent Lindon, President of the Jury, during the closing ceremony.  REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier
Vincent Lindon, President of the Jury, during the closing ceremony. REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

The best happened in the second week

In an edition that was among the weakest in recent times, at least the Cannes Festival competition improved somewhat in recent days. It is not usually the usual since usually the first weekend is the strongest. But this time the best came, curiously, when the streets began to empty with the closing of the Market (in which films are bought and sold for international distribution, among other things), whose guests and accredited usually make up the majority in the huge Palais rooms.

Belgian filmmaker Lukas Dhont thanks the Grand Jury Prize for the film "Close".  At his side, the actor Eden Dambrine.  REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
Belgian filmmaker Lukas Dhont thanks the Grand Jury Prize for the film “Close”. Next to him, the actor Eden Dambrine. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Closeof Lukas Dhont –the Belgian filmmaker who won the Camera d’Or here in 2018 with his film Girl about a trans teenager–revisits the issue of sexuality at that stage of life in this story about two friends who are coming out of childhood and who discover that their feelings for each other can be a little stronger what a friendship And that puts them in conflict more with themselves than with their understanding parents and schoolmates. It is a very human and sensitive family drama, painful at times, that goes deep into how confusing sexual desire can be at this stage of life and the fears that come with it.

Another of the films that raised the competition’s aim in its last stage was Brokerfrom Japanese Hirokazu Kore-eda, which took the award for best actor to the star Song Kang-ho. Without being among the best of his work, this drama shot in Korea and focused on a strange group made up of two “baby traffickers” and a mother who wants to sell hers, works quite well as a road movie and dialogues with the rest of the play about blended families by the director of We are a familywith which he won the Palme d’Or here in 2018. It is a film that portrays a dark world but in a kind and even, at times, comical way.

Diane Kruger presents the award to "best Actor" and Song Kang-ho, protagonist of "Broker". REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
Diane Kruger presents the “Best Actor” award to Song Kang-ho, star of “Broker.” REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

While, Showing Upfrom the American director Kelly Reichardtis a deceptively light film that portrays the conflicts that a visual artist from Portland experiences during the week before an exhibition of her work in a gallery. Michelle Williams embodies the sculptor in question, a somewhat sullen woman who begins to come together with a series of problems –with the neighbor, with her family– that seem simple but end up complicating her work and life on those intense days . Little by little, the film turns from a light portrait of a woman with problems with her cat or with hot water into a slightly thicker drama, about an artist dealing with a personal and family life with borders. distressing.

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The only one of the films expected for the end of the competition that fell far short of expectations was Stars at Noonthat the French director Claire Dennis It was shot in Central America in the midst of a pandemic. It is the story of an American journalist and a British businessman who begin to be persecuted by the political and military authorities of Nicaragua and the CIA. This mix of love story and spy movie is quite clumsy, unbelievable and in the end it ends without making much sense or logic. A disappointment coming from an established director who was returning to the Cannes competition for the first time since 1989.

Claire Denis, co-winner of the Grand Jury Prize for the film "Stars at Noon". REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
Claire Denis, co-winner of the Grand Jury Prize for the film “Stars at Noon”. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

Even with the certain improvement of the last few days and some very good previous titles such as the Canadian films David Cronenberg (Crimes of the Future) or Romanian Cristian Mungiu (R.M.N.), the 75th anniversary edition of Cannes was somewhat disappointing, perhaps linked to low production or the complications that many surely had to film during the pandemic. Or, simply, that the festival is too tied to showing films by established filmmakers and does not take too many risks, at least in its competition for the big prizes.

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