CANNES: “Shoplifters”, a heartwrenching family tale by Japanese veteran director Hirokazu Kore-eda, won the Palme d’Or top prize at the Cannes film festival Saturday, at a ceremony marked by an emotional speech from a Harvey Weinstein accuser.
Spike Lee accepted the runner-up Grand Prix for “BlacKkKlansman”, a searing broadside against racism with the stranger-than-fiction true story of an African-American police officer who manages to infiltrate the highest levels of the Ku Klux Klan.
Jury president Cate Blanchett said the film, which explicitly links the 1970s tale and white nationalism in the Trump era, “blew us out of the cinema”.
But the most stunning moment of the night came when Italian star Asia Argento, who has said she was raped by Weinstein at Cannes in 1997, took the microphone and vowed to fight for justice for other victims.
“This festival was his hunting ground,” said Argento, who says she was 21 when Weinstein attacked her in his hotel room.
“Even tonight sitting among you there are those who still have to be held accountable for their conduct against women. We know who you are and we are not going to allow you to get away with it any longer,” she said to cheers from the audience.
Minutes before the actress took the stage police in Paris said they had opened a criminal probe against one of France´s best-known directors, “The Fifth Element” maker Luc Besson, for allegedly raping an actress.
Lebanese actress-director Nadine Labaki, one of three female filmmakers among the 21 contenders, earned the third-place Jury Prize for “Capernaum” set among the poorest of the poor in Beirut and featuring a devastating performance by a 13-year-old Syrian refugee boy.
Kazakhstan’s Samal Yeslyamova nabbed best actress for “Ayka” by director Sergey Dvortsevoy for her moving portrayal of a young jobless immigrant from post-Soviet Central Asia who abandons her baby in Moscow.
Pawlikowski, who won the foreign-language movie Oscar for “Ida” in 2015, caused a scandal at home when he told AFP at the festival that the film had been “blacklisted” by the nationalist government. Warsaw denied the claim.
He said his award was “a rare piece of good news” for his country.
Italy’s Marcello Fonte — who was working as a caretaker when he was discovered — was the night´s fairytale winner. He clinched best actor for his much-loved performance as a soft-spoken pet groomer who stands up to a heavy in Matteo Garrone’s “Dogman”.
“Three Faces” by Iran’s Jafar Pahahi, who was barred by Tehran from attending the festival, shared the best screenplay prize with Italian director Alice Rohrwacher’s “Happy as Lazzaro”.
The Belgian transgender ballerina drama “Girl” won the Camera d´Or prize for best first film. It had earlier scooped the Queer Palm prize for LGBT-themed cinema and the best actor award for Victor Polster in the Un Certain Regard sidebar section.
French-Swiss legend Jean-Luc Godard also got a special prize for “The Image Book”, a bold, sometimes baffling meditation on the big questions of our time — war, migration and the survival of the planet.