Hannah Strong


Titane takes the Palme d’Or at an unusually stacked Cannes Film Festival

Key awards also went to Nadav Lapid, Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Leos Carax.

After 11 long days filled with sunshine, stars and saliva tests, the 74th Cannes Film Festival has drawn to a close, bringing with it the announcement of the annual Palme d’Or.

This year’s jury, led by Spike Lee, have been deliberating over the mammoth 18 titles in competition since the festival kicked off on July 6th. Joined by Mélanie Laurent, Mati Diop. Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jessica Hausner, Song Kang-ho, Kleber Mendonça Filho, Tahar Rahim and Mylène Farmer in this highly unusual year, where no clear front runner for the prize emerged despite plenty of worthy contenders.

The ceremony was a particularly memorable one give to the translation difficulties between French and English; Spike Lee accidentally revealed the winner of the Palme before any other awards had been handed out, creating a good-natured element of chaos to proceedings, and there was a further misunderstanding about who would be sharing the Grand Prix.

In the end, the grand prize of the Palme d’Or went to Julia Ducournau’s Titane. Her win makes Ducournau only the second woman in the festival’s history to win the Palme, and the first to win it outright after Jane Campion shared her prize for The Piano with Chen Kaige for Farewell My Concubine.

Titane is Ducournau’s second feature film, after Raw screened in Critic’s Week in 2016. Meanwhile Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Memoria and Nadav Lapid’s Ahed’s Knee jointly received the Jury Prize, and Asghar Farhadi’s A Hero shared the Grand Prix with Juho Kuosmanen’s Compartment No. 9.

Caleb Landry Jones was the recipient of Best Actor for his performance in Justin Kurzel’s Nitram and Renate Reinsve took home Best Actress for Joachim Trier’s The Worst Person in the World. The Screenwriting award was received by Ryusuke Hamaguchi for Drive My Car, and Best Director went to Leos Carax for Annette.

The Camera d’Or for Best First Feature went to Croatian director Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic for Murina, which played in Director’s Fortnight.  Italian director Marco Bellocchio was presented with an honorary Palme by his countryman Paolo Sorrentino.

Despite the unusual circumstances of this year’s festival and indeed the closing ceremony, it was a strong competition featuring new work from festival regulars including Jacques Audiard, Bruno Dumont and Nanni Moretti. In his speech at the ceremony, Spike Lee spoke affectionately about his time at the festival, referring to Cannes as “a second home”.

Over in the Un Certain Regard section, the grand prize went to Kira Kovalenk’s Unclenching the Fists, while Sebastian Meise’s Great Freedom and Valdimar Johannsson’s Lamb were honoured with Prix du Jury and Prize for Originality respectively. Hafsia Herzi’s Bonne mere won the Ensemble prize, and La Civil won the Prize of Courage.

Catherine Corsini’s French drama La Fracture walked away with the Queer Palm, and in the Director’s Fortnight sidebar, Italy’s Jonas Carpignano was recognised for A Chiara. Perhaps most importantly of all, Tilda Swinton picked up the Palme Dog on Friday, which was awarded to her very own cocker spaniels for their performance in The Souvenir Part II.

Little White Lies is committed to championing great movies and the talented people who make them. But to keep going, and growing, we need your support. Become a member today.

Published 17 Jul 2021

Tags: Cannes

Suggested For You

A new documentary will go behind the scenes at the Cannes Film Festival

By Charles Bramesco

Cannes Uncut will capture the “glorious excesses” of the world’s most glamorous film festival.

Fast cars and smashed spines abound in the first trailer for Titane

By Charles Bramesco

A car showroom model, a grieving father, and a woman with a mysterious past cross paths in Julia Ducournau’s latest.

Tilda Swinton goes on a sensory journey in the first Memoria trailer

By Charles Bramesco

She embarks on an existential quest in the latest feature from Thai great Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

Little White Lies Logo

About Little White Lies

Little White Lies was established in 2005 as a bi-monthly print magazine committed to championing great movies and the talented people who make them. Combining cutting-edge design, illustration and journalism, we’ve been described as being “at the vanguard of the independent publishing movement.” Our reviews feature a unique tripartite ranking system that captures the different aspects of the movie-going experience. We believe in Truth & Movies.