A jury chaired by last year's Palme d’Or winner, Swedish director Ruben Ostlund, added a little bit of history to the Cannes Film Festival by adjudging Justine Triet's "Anatomy of a Fall" the best among the 21 films that competed for the Palme d’Or this year. But in doing so, it did not spring any surprise.
Triet is only the third woman director to win the festival's top prize after Jane Campion ("The Piano", 2001) and Julia Ducournau ("Titane", 2021), who was also on the jury this year.
"Anatomy of a Fall" is about a popular novelist who is on trial for allegedly murdering her husband. The film is more than just a legal drama – it is a dissection of marriage, too.
Ducournau presented the Grand Prix to English director Jonathan Glazer for his Holocaust drama "The Zone of Interest".
In "The Zone of Interest", the Nazi atrocities take place off camera. The film focuses on the private life of a commandant of the Auschwitz concentration camp played by Christian Friedel and his wife essayed by Sandra Huller (also the lead actress of "Anatomy of a Fall").
"Anatomy of a Fall" and "The Zone of Interest" were expected to be among the big winners at the 76th Cannes Film Festival.
The Palme d'Or was presented to Triet by veteran actress Jane Fonda.
The win for Triet in a competition in which one-third of the entries were helmed by women was in the fitness of things. But apart from the Palme d’Or winner, all the other women in the fray went empty-handed.
The Jury Prize was won by Aki Kaurismaki's "Fallen Leaves", a remarkable film that looks for hope amid despondency through a love story of two people whose lives hang by a thread.
The best actor award was expectedly won by Koji Yakusho for his moving performance in Wim Wenders' Tokyo-set film "Perfect Days". He plays a man who cleans toilets by day and reads, listens to music and waters and photographs plants in his free time.
The best actress award came as a surprise – it went to Turkish actress Merve Dizdar for Nuri Bilge Ceylan's "About Dry Grasses", about a male art teacher accused of sexual misdemeanour.
Sakamoto Yuji won the best screenplay prize for Hirokazu Koreeda's "Monster", which also won the Queer Palm earlier in the day.
The prizes for the Un Certain Regard section were announced on Friday evening. Debutante British director Molly Manning Walker took home the top prize of the section for "How to Have Sex".
The festival's Camera d’Or award for the best first film of a director was won by the three-hour Vietnamese film, "Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell", directed by Thien Ann Pham. The film played in parallel Directors Fortnight.