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Cannes Golden Palm 2019 goes to 'Parasite' directed by Bong Joon-ho

media South Korean film director Bong Joon-Ho, a triumphant Golden Palm winner in Cannes, for 'Parasite' 25 May 2019. Reuters

The Golden Palm top award at the 72nd Cannes Film festival has been awarded to Parasite, Gisaengchung. The nine-member jury led by Mexican film maker Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu said the awards reflected the opinion of "only nine people in the world".

The 2019 Golden Palm was awarded on Saturday night by the Grande Dame of French cinema, actress Catherine Deneuve.

Before announcing the title of the top prize winner, jury chair Inarritu said his team was "totally democratic and our decision was unanimous".

The wealth gap is central to this first South Korean Golden Palm winner. It starts off on a relatively humorous note in a squalid basement flat where the two young adult children try to guide their parents -one a former medal-winning athlete - back into money-earning mode.

The parents are disconnected from current work methods. The family cooks up a devious plan to earn their living. The film's gags dry up along the way and Boon starts to get deadly serious - and gruesome.

French "now" generation gets huge boost

Sylvestor Stallone, at Cannes to promote the next Rambo action film, announced the Grand Prix, for Atlantique, a first film by Franco-Senegalese, Maty Diop. Her film is set in Senegal and was filmed on location in the West African country. She throws the supernatural into a doomed love story where exploitation leads to migration.

The 36-year-old, who had a lot of backing from French players, was visibly moved. "It's crazy!" she said.

Happy Maty Diop, winner of the 72nd Cannes Film Festival's Grand Prix, for her film 'Atlantique', 25 May 2019. REUTERS/Stephane Mahé

"It's a chance and an honour to be among you," she said. "It's a declaration of love, to the streets of Dakar."

Brava Spanish and Brazilian cinema

No surprise for the Best Actor Award that went to Antonio Banderas, the star of Pedro Almodovar's 36th film, Pain and Glory. Banderas plays Salvador Mallo, a film director reflecting on his past.

Ladj Ly, Emily Beecham, Luc Dardenne, Antonio Banderas, Jean-Pierre Dardennes, winners at the 72nd Cannes Film Festival, 25 May 2019 REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

"We make a lot of sacrifices in our careers, there's a lot of pain. But there are also evenings of glory. And this is mine," said Banderas.

The number of exciting nominees in the Palm selection led to a joint Jury prize. Les Misérables a first feature by Ladj Ly, and Bacurau by Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles. Filho's previous film Aquarius was in competition at Cannes two years ago.

Ladj Ly, entre Kléber Mendonça Filho e Juliano Dornelles, com quem dividiram o prêmio do juri em Cannes REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Both films broach fractured societies and the post-colonial era, but in two very different worlds, an urban housing estate near Paris and a tiny village in the north of Brazil.

Filho said that two prizes at Cannes for Brazilian films was a major boost for his country, a day after the top Un Certain Regard award went to The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao, directed by Kamal Aïnouz.

French director Ladj Ly, paid special tribute to Montfermeil, the suburb outside of the French capital where he grew up and shot his film. Then he dedicated his prize to all the "misérables" which means the very poor in English wherever they may be in the world.

An eye on Europe

Two directors, the Dardenne brothers from Belgium, won the Best Director Award for their film tackling religious extremes and identity, Young Ahmed. "We wanted this film to be a hymn to life. An appeal to life, to difference," said Luc Dardenne.

His brother Jean-Pierre, gave special thanks to the teenage actor who plays the title role. They did an amazing job directing Idir Ben Addi. He shows actor-maturity in the way he takes on the character of Ahmed at a crucial moment in his life.

Emily Beecham took best actress for her role as biogeneticist Alice in Austrian Jessica Hausner's Little Joe, a modern, haunting film. Her character is troubled and troubling.

Cannes 2019 Best Actress award winner Emily Beecham and Ben Whishaw in Jessica Hausner's Little Joe, May 2019 Film Little Joe by Jessica Hausner

Beecham has played with the Coen Brothers in Hail Cesar. She's also a familiar face to those who watch the television series Into the Badlands.

Touted by some of the top film critics in the world for the Golden Palm, Portrait of a Lady on Fire directed by Céline Sciamma took the Best Screenplay award.

Sciamma, who had a number of screenplays to her name before her directoral debut with Water Lilies, said, "It was a collaborative work, the most beautiful of my life."

She went on to thank, in an eloquent and emotional way, her technical team, cast and producers for the attention they gave to her work.

Charlie Suleiman Chaplin

A special jury award went to Elia Suleiman's This Must be Heaven, his third Cannes palm entry. Suleiman directs himself, barely speaking a word, except, "I'm a Palestinian, from Nazareth."

A film chocabloc with cinema history references, starting with Suleiman's Charlie Chaplin-inspired character, references to Christianity, cultural nods and metaphors of the Israeli-Palestine stalemate.

Suleiman throws in many layers. But on the surface, as he travels to Paris on 14 July, with the French national day military parade and tight security as well as threatening behaviour in the metro, and then to New York where everyone carries arms, he decides it's best to go back home to Palestine.

However, maybe he'd miss the pretty multi-cultural model-type women he watches from a Paris café terrace.

The closing film at Cannes screened after the awards, was Hors Normes, meaning 'outsize', directed Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache of Untouchable fame.

All the awards of the 72nd Cannes Film Festival below:

  • Palme d'Or, Parasite,Bong Joon-ho
  • Grand Prix, Atlantique, Maty Diop
  • Best actor, Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory
  • Jury Award (joint) Les Misérables, Ladj Ly and Bacurau, Juliano Dornelles/Kleber Mendonça Filho
  • Best Directors, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardennes, Young Ahmed.
  • Best Actress, Emily Beecham, Little Joe.
  • Best Screenplay, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, director Céline Sciamma.
  • Special jury award went to Elia Suleiman's This Must be Heaven.
  • Best first feature 'Camera d’Or' - César Diaz Nuestres Madrès (Guatemala), Critic's Week (jury chair, Rithy Pan)


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