(CANNES, France) – A family of grifters hustles the perfect family in Bong Joon-Ho’s meticulously-directed “Parasite.” And they go all the way to Cannes gold! This is the beauty of the Cannes Festival, the jury and the results can be full of surprises–even bad ones. This is a year, also, when the press and the jury are aligned–on who should win top gold. For the rest, who knows what went on in the villa above Cannes, in between gulps of S. Pellegrino and bites of shrimp cocktail. If my hypothesis that the jury’s president’s voice always weighs the heaviest (these are really his, or her, choices) then I’d say that Alejandro González iñárritu, one of the most overrated filmmakers of his generation, has led his jury right into a reinforced steel wall at full speed. The jury’s unsavvy choices for winners this year shows incoherence, a lack of attention and little understanding of the contributions of this year’s great crop of films. But this is the game, and the jury has spoken so their choices shall be honored.
On the other hand, if Mati Diop’s “Atlantique” about African immigration to Europe, death and forced marriage, did not reach consensus among the press, it’s because it isn’t a well put-together movie. Something went awry, probably in the editing room. Giving the film the Grand Prix was a kindly gesture on the part of the jury. There aren’t half enough films from the African continent that go on to win prizes, because the governments of those countries are either too busy stealing, or too corrupt, or simply too poor, or all of the above. And without the necessary support structures in place, good filmmaking from the African continent does not often make it to top-rung festivals, let alone win prizes. So filmmakers from those regions are caught in a vicious circle. This prize for Mati Diop, a French-Senegalese filmmaker, is to be celebrated.
Here’s the full list of winners:
Palme D’Or: “Parasite,” by Bong Joon-HO
Grand Prix: “Atlantique,” by Mati Diop
Jury Prize: “Les misérables” by Ladj Ly ex-aequo with “Bacurau” by Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles
Best Actor: Antonio Banderas in “Pain and Glory”
Best Actress: Emily Beecham in “Little Joe”
Best Directing: “Young Ahmed” directed by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne
Best Screenplay: Céline Sciamma, “Portrait of a lady on fire”
Caméra D’Or: “Nuestras Madres,” by Cesar Diaz
Special Mention: “It must be heaven,” by Elia Suleiman