'Shoplifters' wins the Palme d'Or at Cannes

Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda won the Palme d'Or at Cannes on Saturday for "Shoplifters," a critically acclaimed family drama with unguessable plot twists.
'Shoplifters' wins the Palme d'Or at Cannes

Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda (right) poses on stage with Australian actress and President of the Jury Cate Blanchett after he was awarded with the Palme d'Or for the film "Shoplifters" on May 19, 2018 during the closing ceremony of the 71st edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France.

Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda won the Palme d’Or at Cannes on Saturday for “Shoplifters,” a critically acclaimed family drama with unguessable plot twists.

The award, to a director who has won prizes at the festival before, defied speculation that the Palme might go to a female director, with three strong contenders in a year when the Hollywood sex scandal was the talk of the town.

After the ceremony, Cate Blanchett who headed the jury of five women and four men, said: “Women and men alike on the jury would love to see more female directorial voices represented,” adding that it had been “bloody hard” to select a winner.

“But in the end I think we were completely bowled over by how intermeshed the performances were with the directorial vision,” she said of “Shoplifters.”

The runner-up prize, the Grand Prix, went to Spike Lee’s satire “Black Klansman,” based on the true story of a black police officer who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s.

Blanchett said the film’s ending, with footage of the far-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia last August and President Donald Trump blaming “both sides” for the deadly violence, “blew us out of the cinema.”

A female director, Nadine Labaki from Lebanon, won the Jury Prize — effectively the bronze medal — for “Capharnaum,” a realist drama about childhood neglect in the slums of Beirut.

Fifty years after he helped get the Cannes festival canceled in 1968 in solidarity with worker-student protests, 87-year-old Jean-Luc Godard received a Special Palme d’Or for his collage of sounds and images, “The Image Book.” Poland’s Pawel Pawlikowski won Best Director for “Cold War,” a romance that moves from the peasant farms of Poland to Paris jazz clubs and back from the 1940s to the 1960s. “Girl,” a Belgian drama about a transgender teenage girl’s quest to become a ballerina, won the Camera d’Or for the best directorial debut for director Lukas Dhont.

Jafar Panahi, the Iranian director who is prevented from leaving Iran and is in theory banned from making films, won Best Screenplay for “3 Faces” along with co-writer Nader Saeivar. The award was given jointly to another film, “Happy As Lazzaro,” written and directed by Italian Alice Rohrwacher.

But the most stunning moment of the night came when Italian actress Asia Argento, who has accused movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault, said there were abusers in the audience who had yet to be outed.

“Even tonight, sitting among you, there are those who still have to be held accountable for their conduct against women,” Argento told the ceremony.

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