Justine Triet’s Anatomy of a Fall was the big blindside at the Cannes Film Festival this year, with the French Thriller taking home the coveted Palme d’Or. The winner was decided by 2023’s Jury president Ruben Östlund (who won last year for his social satire Triangle of Sadness), Julia Ducournau (who won the year before with body-horror Titane), and a host of other notable names including Paul Dano, Brie Larson, Maryam Touzani and Denis Mènochet. The win makes Triet only the third woman to win the Palme in the festival’s history. 

Anatomy of a Fall’s win came as a surprise to many who had pegged Jonathan Glazer’s The Zone of Interest as the frontrunner of the festival, after near unanimous praise by the public. Judging by the buzz inside the festival, along the Croisette, in the Palais, at crowded bars in Cannes old town where journalists commune after a long day of watching and reviewing, Glazer’s holocaust masterpiece seemed a clear shoe-in. But the excitement of a festival like Cannes is that anything can happen, and Triet’s film, about a woman attempting to prove her innocence after being framed of murdering her husband, was cited by Östlund as “an intense experience — exactly what cinema should be.” The film was notably acquired by Neon, which will make Anatomy the distributor’s fourth consecutive Palme win, after previously working on Triangle of Sadness, Titane, and Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite.

The zone of interest
Jonathan Glazer winning the Grand Prix for The Zone of Interest

The Zone of Interest didn’t go completely ignored by the jury though, bagging Cannes second most prestigious prize, the Grand Prix, while Aki Kaurismaki’s Fallen Leaves took the Jury prize. Best Screenplay went to Sakamoto Yûji for Hirokazu Koreeda’s Monster, which also won the Queer Palm this year for the tender love story at its centre. For acting, Kōji Yakusho was honoured for his meditative performance in Wim Wender’s slice of life film Perfect Days, as was Merve Dizdar, the Turkish actress winning Best Actress for her role in About Dry Grasses, Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s latest master work. Best director went to French-Vietnamese director Tran Anh Hung, whose entry The Pot Au Feu is being hailed as the new Babette’s Feast, the Camera d’Or for first feature film went to Vietnamese filmmaker Thien An Pham’s three hour Inside The Yellow Cocoon Shell, and Molly Manning Walker won Un Certain Regard for her debut How To Have Sex, all in all capping off a surprisingly eclectic selection of winners at the festival this year.

Fallen Leaves
Aki Kaurismaki’s Fallen Leaves wins Grand Jury Prize
Tran Anh Hùng
Tran Anh Hùng winning for The Pot Au Feu