The prize we have all been waiting to hear about – Cannes’ major award, the Palme d’Or – was finally announced just before 6pm today. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given earlier reports, the winner was Michael Haneke’s Amour, the story of an aging couple and the decline of one of them towards dementia and death. Starring Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva, both respected actors in their eighties, it had been tipped as a winner from the moment it received a standing ovation at the first showing.
Having been a previous winner in 2009 with The White Ribbon (Das Weisse Band), Haneke is now one of a select few directors to win the Palme d’Or twice. These will certainly be going on the mantelpiece – the prestigious award puts him into an eminent cohort of double winners, including Francis Ford Coppola, Shohei Imamura, and Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne.
Haneke made a long list of thanks in his speech, crediting the actors and calling it “their film”. Known for his art-house intellectual movies, which are often emotionally charged and full of tension and mystery, he has been a favourite amongst film students for a long time, particularly since the English-language version of Funny Games was released in 2007, starring Naomi Watts and Tim Roth, a frame-by-frame remake of his 1997 German-language movie by the same name. Haneke told Canal Plus TV he was “delighted, it’s amazing” after the ceremony had finished.
Other winners at Cannes included Sessiz-Be Deng for Short Film Palme d’Or, Beasts of the Southern Wild for Camera d’Or, The Angel’s Share for the Jury Prize, Beyond the Hills for Best Screenplay, Post Tenebras Lux for Best Director, Mads Mikkelsen in The Hunt for Best Actor, and both Cosmina Stratan and Cristina Flutur in Beyond the Hills for Best Actress. Finally, the Grand Prix went to Reality.
Jacques Audiard was among the disappointed – Rust and Bone was tipped for both the Palme d’Or and Best Actress, but received neither.