For the second year in a row, the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival has gone to an Asian film about a close-knit family of con artists. A year after Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Shoplifters” won the 2018 award, Alejandro G. Inarritu’s jury gave this year’s top prize to Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite,” one of the most critically acclaimed films of this year’s festival.
In his review on TheWrap, Ben Croll called the film “a genre-bending dark comedy with searing class consciousness” and labeled it a return to form for the director whose last two films were the English-language “Snowpiercer” and “Okja.”
The Grand Prix, the jury’s second place award, went to the first black woman director ever in the Cannes competition, Mati Diop, for “Atlantics.”
Antonio Banderas won the Best Actor prize for his performance as a Pedro Almodovar-like director in Almodovar’s “Pain and Glory,” while Emily Beecham won the Best Actress award for her portrayal of a flower breeder in Jessica Hausner’s creepy “Little Joe.”
The Jury Prize, which is essentially the third-place award, was shared by both “Les Miserables” and “Bacurau,” a sign that in a year of strong work across the board, the jury wanted to reward as many films as possible. It also created a special mention award for Elia Suleiman’s “It Must Be Heaven.”
In something of a surprise, the jury gave its best-director award to the Dardenne brothers for “Young Ahmed,” their portrait of the radicalization of a Muslim teen.
Writer-director Celine Sciamma won the screenplay award for “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” a lesbian period romance that was one of the festival’s most acclaimed films.
Cesar Diaz’s “Our Mothers” won the Camera d’Or, which goes to the best first film from any section of the festival. It screened in the independent International Critics’ Week section.
Jury president Inarritu was one of six directors on the nine-person panel. The other directors were Pawel Pawlikowski, Kelly Reichardt, Robin Campillo, Yorgos Lanthimos and Alice Rohrwacher, with the panel filled out by actress Elle Fanning, author Enki Bilal and actress Maimouna N’Diaye.
The 21 films in the main competition also included Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood,” Terrence Malick’s “A Hidden Life,” Jim Jarmusch’s “The Dead Don’t Die,” Ira Sachs’ “Frankie,” Xavier Dolan’s “Matthias & Maxime,” Ken Loach’s “Sorry We Missed You,” Corneliu Porumboiu’s “The Whistlers” and the biggest bomb of the festival, Abdellatif Kechiche’s three-and-a-half-hour tribute to butts, “Mektoub, My Love: Intermezzo.”
Palme d’Or: “Parasite,” Bong Joon Ho
Grand Prix: “Atlantics,” Mati Diop
Best Director: Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, “Young Ahmed”
Best Screenplay: Celine Sciamma, “Portrait of a Lady on Fire”
Best Actor: Antonio Banderas, “Pain and Glory”
Best Actress: Emily Beecham, “Little Joe”
Jury Prize: (TIE) “Bacurau,” Kleber Mendonca Filho and Juliano Dornelles; and “Les Miserables,” Ladj Ly
Special Mention: Elia Suleiman, “It Must Be Heaven”
Camera d’Or: “Our Mothers” (“Nuestras Madres”), Cesar Diaz
Palme d’Or, Short Film: “The Distance Between Us and the Sky,” Vasilis Kekatos
Short Film, Special Mention: “Monstruo Dios,” Agustina San Martin