Female director takes top prize at Cannes

·2-min read

France's Julia Ducournau has become only the second woman to receive the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival as the 74th edition of the event drew to a close.

But the official announcement on Saturday of Ducournau's "Titane" as the recipient of the Palme d'Or was something of an anti-climax because the jury president, Spike Lee, let slip the identity of the winning film at the start of the ceremony.

Even so, the crowd gave an extended standing ovation as a tearful Ducournau, accompanied by cast members Agathe Rousselle and Vincent Lindon, accepted the prize from Sharon Stone.

"Titane," the most controversial of the 24 films that vied for the Palme d'Or, recounts the story of a sociopathic female serial killer (Rousselle) who assumes the identity of a long-missing young man and forms a bond with the youth's father (Lindon).

Ducournau, 37, thanked the jury for having "recognised the avid and visceral need we have for a more fluid and more inclusive world".

The French director joins New Zealand's Jane Campion, whose "The Piano" earned her a share of the Palme d'Or in 1993 along with Chen Kaige's "Farewell My Concubine."

Lee and his colleagues on this year's jury - Maggie Gyllenhaal, Melanie Laurent, Song Kang-ho, Tahar Rahim, Mati Diop, Jessica Hausner, Kleber Mendona Filho and Mylene Farmer - took advantage of the festival's "ex aequo" (equally) mechanism for the second and third-place honours.

The Grand Prize was conferred on Iranian filmmaker Ashgar Farhadi's "A Hero" and "Compartment No. 6," by Finland's Juho Kuosmanen.

"Ahed's Knee," directed by Nadav Lapid of Israel, and "Memoria," the creation of Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasthakul, shared the Jury Prize.

France's Leos Carax was named best director for "Annette," while Ryusuke Hamaguchi of Japan took the best screenplay prize for "Drive My Car."

Norway's Renate Reinsve received the best actress award for her performance in "The Worst Person In The World," the latest film from Lars Trier.

The best actor prize went to Caleb Landry Jones of the United States, who portrayed Port Arthur mass murderer Martin Bryant in "Nitram."

The Camera d'Or award for best first film was bestowed on Croatia's Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic for "Murina."

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