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Cannes 2022: Triangle of Sadness wins Palme d'Or

The Palme d’Or at the 75th Cannes Film Festival went to “Triangle of Sadness.” It was the second Palme in five years for the Swedish director Ruben Östlund, who won the prize in 2017 for “The Square.” The film, which begins as a satire of the fashion industry before shifting its setting to a luxury cruise and widening into a critique of the very, very wealthy (an arms dealer, a Russian oligarch), was something of a surprise winner. As with the last time he won, Östlund encouraged the audience to bellow a “primal scream of happiness”—a reference to “The Square.”

The Grand Jury Prize (second place) was shared between Close,” a Belgian film from Lukas Dhont about a tight boyhood friendship that encounters tragedy, and “Stars at Noon,” directed by Claire Denis, who has been slighted by Cannes in the past. (It’s her first film in competition since “Chocolat” in 1988.) Vincent Lindon, the jury president, starred in another film by Denis just this year, “Both Sides of the Blade,” which played at Berlin.

Best Director went to Park Chan-wook for “Decision to Leave,” the quintessential director’s movie in which the filmmaker weaves his way through an incredibly complicated, “Vertigo”-esque narrative with an almost geometric precision.

The Jury Prize (in effect, third place) was a tie between “The Eight Mountains” and “Eo.” In the latter, as in Robert Bresson’s “Au Hasard Balthazar,” a donkey bears witness to the foibles and cruelty of humanity. The director, the veteran Polish filmmaker Jerzy Skolimowski, thanked by name all six donkeys who had starred in the role. Felix van Groeningen, who directed “The Eight Mountains” with Charlotte Vandermeersch, followed suit by citing the donkeys who appeared in their film.

A special prize for the festival’s 75th anniversary went to Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne for “Tori and Lokita.” The Belgian filmmaking brothers have won nearly every other major prize at the festival, including the Palme (twice, for “Rosetta” and “L’Enfant”), the Grand Jury Prize (“The Kid With a Bike”), Best Director (“Young Ahmed”), and Best Screenplay (“Lorna’s Silence”). No filmmaker has ever won a third Palme, and they were only ones who had a shot at it this year.

Best Actress went to Zar Amir Ebrahimi for her role as a journalist trying to catch a serial killer in Ali Abbasi’s “Holy Spider,” which is based on a real case in Iran. It features nudity and violence not normally seen in Iranian movies (the film was actually shot in Jordan). The actress, who according to the press kit's account had a major career in TV in Iran that was derailed by the leak of a sex tape, and who now lives in Paris, thanked cinema for, she said, practically saving her life in dark times.

Best Actor went to Song Kang-ho (“Parasite”) for his role as an improbably goodhearted infant trafficker—he and his business partner sell babies to parents struggling with the South Korean adoption system—in the Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Broker.”

Best Screenplay went to Tarik Saleh, the writer and director of “Boy From Heaven,” about a new student at a Cairo university who is recruited to be a mole. Saleh took out his phone to film the audience. "I’m a film director, that’s why,” he said, adding, “Can you all say hello to my mom?”

The Swedish-born Saleh said that he cannot go back to what he called his “second home country,” Egypt, and that he was asked “if it was worth it to make this film.”“It’s not worth it,” he said. “I had to do it anyway.” He dedicated his prize to young filmmakers, encouraging them to raise their voices and tell their stories.

Ben Kenigsberg

Ben Kenigsberg is a frequent contributor to The New York Times. He edited the film section of Time Out Chicago from 2011 to 2013 and served as a staff critic for the magazine beginning in 2006. 

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