Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho scooped the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or tonight with Parasite, a powerful dramedy about the collision of two families from very different classes. This is Bong’s first major prize in Cannes and was not a surprise given the great reception and momentum it enjoyed on the ground. In his remarks onstage tonight inside the Lumière, he noted to the French audience that one of his inspirations has been Claude Chabrol.
The prizes overall followed expectations, although there were no gongs for Quentin Tarantino’s roundly lauded Once Upon A Time In Hollywood – perhaps noting how this year’s jury went for more contemporary stories of issues the world is facing today. Before bestowing the Palme d’Or, Jury President Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu said the panel had watched films from iconic directors and veterans who mixed genres, while adding that in “the time we live today, democracy is losing itself.” This jury, he said, “was totally democratic” and the decision to award Parasite was “unanimous.”
Other major winners include Antonio Banderas who plays a sort of alter ego to Pedro Almodovar in the Spanish director’s Pain And Glory. Banderas said on stage, “You have no idea how much I’d like to be able to speak French and at the same time I want to speak Spanish so I’m going to try to do a paella of both… When I walked up the red carpet I was asked how much time it took me to get here… it took 40 years.” He added, “There is no mystery” that the character he plays is Almodovar who he met 40 years ago. “We did eight films together. I respect him, I love him. He is my mentor. He gave me so much that this prize is dedicated to him.” Banderas concluded with, “There is pain and glory but the best is yet to come.”
Elsewhere, Deadline’s One to Watch, Ladj Ly shared the Jury Prize which was presented by Michael Moore – fitting given Ly has been best known as a documentary maker. In presenting, Moore said, “Art in dark times is what has helped save humanity.” On receiving the prize, Ly called his producers to the stage and said his film, Les Misérables, “talks about different things that are common in this territory; the thing that is common between us is misery.” And, with that, he dedicated the prize to “all the miserables of France.” That’s extra fitting given this is the 28th weekend in a row that the yellow vest protesters are out in the streets here in France and ahead of European elections tomorrow.