Ruben Östlund’s The Square wins the Palme d’Or: complete Cannes 2017 awards and comment

Pedro Almodóvar’s jury divided its prizes across a generally deserving spread of films from the likes of Lynne Ramsay, Sofia Coppola and Robin Campillo – as well as giving top honours to Sweden’s rising talent Östlund. It would be churlish to carp, says our editor.


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The Square (2017)

The Square (2017)

So Ruben Östlund’s The Square, a black comedy about rich people’s problems, wins the Palme d’Or?

It’s true, but my tone is a deliberate miscue. Since I wanted Lynne Ramsay’s impressionistic thriller You Were Never Really Here to win, I could be snarky about the likelihood of The Square appealing to a well-heeled jury – but that would be very churlish. Pedro Almodóvar and his colleagues have done a pretty steady job of rewarding the right films. After all, Ramsay’s film came away with the Best Actor prize for Joaquin Phoenix and a shared Best Screenplay prize split with Yorgos Lanthimos’s beautifully made Greek tragedy bore The Killing of a Sacred Deer.

The Square, which sees its Art Curator protagonist fall down a rabbit hole of bizarre consequences after he seeks revenge for a mugging, was unquestionably the most idea-packed film in a below-average selection, so the win is deserved (though our reviewer would certainly demur). It was heartening, too, to see Robin Campillo’s 1990s ACT UP tribute 120 Beats per Minute (BPM) win the Grand Prix with such an emotionally powerful political testament.

I found Fatih Akin’s terrorist bomb aftermath drama In the Fade crude in ways that if explained would spoil its plot, but Diane Kruger (Best Actress) was at full intensity throughout. Whether she was better than, say, Maryana Spivak as the steely divorcee in Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Loveless or Nicole Kidman as the cursed wife in Sacred Deer didn’t matter because Loveless, my second favourite film, won the (third-place) Jury Prize, and Kidman was awarded a special Cannes 70th Anniversary prize – which was apt given that she was in four projects shown during the festival.

Sofia Coppola’s Best Director win for her remake of The Beguiled, a film that was more popular with women critics than men, came as a small but welcome surprise. The Camera d’Or jury also got it right by giving that first-feature prize to Léonor Serraille’s Montparnasse Bienvenue (Jeune Femme), easily the most promising film in the Un Certain Regard section this year. With three women directors thus rewarded (though no mention for Valeska Grisebach’s much admired Western in Un Certain Regard), Cannes could take another load off its back this year. And, after last year’s Toni Erdmann snub debacle (discreetly compensated for by Maren Ade’s seat on the jury) we can be grateful that we weren’t critics on the verge of a nervous breakdown this year… except, perhaps, for those flying home by British Airways.


The prizes


Jury: Pédro Almodóvar, director-writer-producer (president); Maren Ade, director-writer-producer; Jessica Chastain, actor-producer; Fan Bingbing, actor-producer; Agnès Jaoui, actor-writer-director; Park Chan-wook, director-writer-producer; Will Smith, actor-producer-musician; Paolo Sorrentino, writer-director; Gabriel Yared, composer.

The Square (2017)

The Square (2017)

Palme d’Or

The Square (Sweden/Germany/France/Denmark) by Ruben Östlund

70th Anniversary Prize

Nicole Kidman (for The Beguiled, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, How to Talk to Girls at Parties and Top of the Lake: China Girl)

Grand Prize

120 Beats per Minute (BPM) (France) by Robin Campillo

Best Director

Sophia Coppola for The Beguiled (USA)

Best Actor

Joaquin Phoenix for You Were Never Really Here (UK) by Lynne Ramsay

Best Actress

Diane Kruger for In the Fade (Aus dem Nichts, Germany) by Fatih Akin

Jury Prize

Loveless (Russia/France/Belgium/Germany) by Andrey Zvyagintsev

Best Screenplay


Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou for The Killing of a Sacred Deer (Ireland/UK)

Lynne Ramsay for You Were Never Really Here (UK)


Cinéfondation and short films

Jury: Cristian Mungiu, director (president); Clotilde Hesme, actor; Barry Jenkins, writer-director; Eric Khoo, director-writer-producer; Athina Rachel Tsangari, director-writer-producer

Palme d’Or for Short Film

A Gentle Night (Xiao Cheng Er Yue, China) by Qiu Yang

Special mention for Short Film

Katto (The Ceiling) by Teppo Airaksinen

Cinéfondation 1st prize

Paul Is Here (Paul est là, Belgium) by Valentina Maurel

Cinéfondation 2nd prize

Animal (Heyvan, Iran) by Bahman and Bahram Ark

Cinéfondation 3rd prize

Two Youths Died (Deux Égarés sonts mort, France) by Tommaso Usberti


Un Certain Regard

Jury: Uma Thurman, actor (president); Mohamed Diab, director; Reda Kateb, actor; Joachim Lafosse, director; Karel Och, artistic director of the Karlovy Vary Film Festival.

Lerd (A Man of Integrity, 2017)

Lerd (A Man of Integrity, 2017)

Un Certain Regard prize

Lerd (A Man of Integrity, Iran) by Mohammad Rasoulof

Best Actress

Jasmine Trinca for Fortunata (Italy) by Sergio Castellitto

Best Poetic Narrative

Barbara (France) by Mathieu Amalric

Best Direction

Taylor Sheridan for Wind River (USA)

Jury Prize

April’s Daughter (Mexico) by Michel Franco


Caméra d’Or

Jury: Sandrine Kiberlain, actor/director (president); Patrick Blossier, cinematographer; Elodie Bouchez, actor; Guillaume Brac, writer-director; Thibault Carterot; Fabien Gaffez, critic and writer; Michel Merkt, producer.

Laetitia Dosch in Montparnasse Bienvenue (Jeune Femme)

Laetitia Dosch in Montparnasse Bienvenue (Jeune Femme)

Montparnasse Bienvenue (Jeune Femme) (France) by Léonor Serraille


L’Œil d’or Documentary Prize

Jury: Sandrine Bonnaire, actress (president); Lucy Walker, director; Lorenzo Codelli, critic; Dror Moreh, director; Thom Powers, programmer and festival director.

Faces Places (Visages Villages, 2017)

Faces Places (Visages Villages, 2017)

Visages Villages (Faces Places, France) by Agnès Varda


Directors’ Fortnight

Art Cinema Award

The Rider (USA) by Chloe Zhao

Europa Cinemas Label Award

A Ciambra (Italy/Brazil/USA) by Jonas Carpignano

Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers (SACD) Prize


Let the Sunshine In (France) by Claire Denis

Lover for a Day (France) by Philippe Garrel

Illy Short Film Prize

Back to Genoa City (France) by Benoit Grimalt


Critics’ Week

Jury: Kleber Mendonça Filho (president), Diana Bustamante Escobar, Eric Kohn, Hania Mroué, Niels Schneider.

Nespresso Grand Prize

Makala by Emmanuel Gras

France 4 Visionary Award

Gabriel and the Mountain by Fellipe Gamarano Barbosa

Leica Cine Discovery Prize for Short Film

Los Desheredados by Laura Ferrés

Gan Foundation Support for Distribution Award

Gabriel and the Mountain by Fellipe Gamarano Barbosa

SACD Award

Ava by Léa Mysius

Canal+ Award

The Best Fireworks by Aleksandra Terpińska


FIPRESCI Critics’ prize

Jury: Alissa Simon (USA, president), Thomas Aidan (France), Barbara Lorey de Lacharrière (France), Rodrigo Fonseca (Brazil), Vidyashankar Jois (India), Pierre Pageau (Canada), Eva Peydró (Spain), Silvana Silvestri (Italy), Mode Steinkjer (Norway).

BPM (120 battements par minute, 2017)

BPM (120 battements par minute, 2017)


120 Beats per Minute (BPM) (France) by Robin Campillo

Un Certain Regard

Closeness (Russia) by Kantemir Balagov

Directors’ Fortnight and Critics’ Week

The Nothing Factory (Portugal) by Pedro Pinho


In the June 2017 issue of Sight & Sound

Talking point: Reel of fortune

Would you have had a wager on The Wages of Fear? Turned a profit on A Prophet? Neil Young on the history of betting on the awards at Cannes.

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