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Cannes: French director’s film on Tamil Tigers wins Palme D’Or

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NEW DELHI: While Dheepan by French director Jacques Audiard won the Palme D’Or for the best film, renowned filmmaker Agn?s Varda received the highest distinction of an honorary Palme D’Or at the conclusion of the 68th Cannes International Film Festival in France.

The director and all-rounder swells the ranks of the exceptional award winners that include great names such as Woody Allen (2002), Manoel de Oliveira (2008), Clint Eastwood (2009), and Bernardo Bertolucci (2011).

The film, which won the top award is a moving drama dealing with three Tamil Tigers - a former soldier, a young woman and a child - who pose as a family to escape the civil war in Sri Lanka and get French asylum. It will be released in the US by IFC/Sundance Selects.

The director is also known for earlier films like A Prophet and Rust and Bone.

The awards were announced by the jury headed by Joel and Ethan Coen, and also included directors Guillermo del Toro and Xavier Dolan, actor Jake Gyllenhaal, actresses Sienna Miller, Sophie Marceau and Rossy de Palma and composer Rokia Traore.

The Best Actor award went to Vincent Lindon in La Loi Du Marché (The Measure of a Man) by Stéphane Brizé while the Actress awards were shared by Emmanuelle Bercot in Mon Roi by Ma?wenn, and Rooney Mara in Carol by Todd Haynes.

The second-place award, the Grand Prix, went to first-time director Laszlo Nemes’ harrowing Holocaust drama Son of Saul, while the third-place Jury Award went to Yorgos Lanthimos’ surreal The Lobster.

Hou Hsiao-Hsien was named the festival’s best director for his lavish martial arts epic The Assassin.

The Best Screenplay award was given to writer-director Michel Franco for Chronic, the Camera d’Or to La Tierra Y La Sombra (Land and Shade) by César Augusto Acevedo. 

The Short Film Palme D’Or was given to Waves '98 by Ely Dagher from Lebanon.

Eight of the 19 films in the main competition took home awards. Favourites, which failed to make include Matteo Garrone’s twisted fairy tale compilation Tale of Tales; Justin Kurzel’s MacBeth, with Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard; Joachim Trier’s Louder Than Bombs with Jesse Eisenberg and Isabelle Huppert.

The winners:

Palme d’Or: Dheepan, Jacques Audiard

Grand Prix: Son of Saul, Laszlo Nemes

Prix du Jury: The Lobster, Yorgos Lanthimos

Best Director: The Assassin, Hou Hsiao-Hsien

Best Screenplay: Chronic, Michel Franco

Camera d’Or (Best First Feature): La Tierra y la Sombra (Land and Shade), Cesar Augusto Acevedo

Best Actor: Vincent Lindon, The Measure of a Man

Best Actress: (tie) Rooney Mara, Carol, and Emmanuelle Bercot, Mon Roi

Palme d’Or, Short Film: Waves 98, Ely Dagher

Meanwhile, the Cinéfondation and Short Films Jury headed by Abderrahmane Sissako awarded the 2015 Cinéfondation Prize Share by Pippa Bianco of AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women, USA. The Second Prize went to Locas Perdidas directed by Ignacio Juricic Merillan from Carrera de Cine y TV Universidad de Chile, Chile; and the third prize jointly went to The Return Of Erkin directed by Maria Guskova from High Courses for Scriptwriters and Film Directors, Russia, and Victor XX directed by Ian Gamdo Lopez from ESCAC, Spain.

The Cinéfondation Selection consisted of 18 student films, selected from among 593 entries from 381 film schools around the world.

The first prize winner received €15,000, with €11,250 going to the second and €7,500 to the third.

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