There were shocks and surprises – and even talk of a renegade jury – at the closing ceremony for the 69th Cannes film festival. Few of the perceived favourites picked up prizes, while some movies derided as turkeys triumphed – and the one-award-per-movie rule also appeared to have been torn up, reports The Guardian.
Ken Loach won his second Palme d’Or – the festival’s highest honour – for 'I, Daniel Blake', a social-realist drama about a disabled carpenter struggling with the red tape of the benefits system. The director, who turns 80 next month, returned from retirement to make the film, and took to the stage at the Palais to address the audience in French.
“The festival is very important for the future of cinema,” he said, instructing all present to “stay strong.”
Loach continued by saying it was “very strange” to receive the award in such glamorous surroundings, considering the conditions endured by those people who inspired the film.
“When there is despair, the people from the far right take advantage,” said Loach. “We must say that another world is possible and necessary.”
Jury member Donald Sutherland praised 'I, Daniel Blake' as “an absolutely terrific movie that resonates in your heart and soul,” backstage during a press conference.
Loach has a very loyal following in Europe: many of his films have premiered at Cannes, while 'The Wind That Shakes the Barley', about two brothers who join the IRA in the early 1920s, won the Palme d’Or in 2006. Yet few foresaw victory for the veteran dramatist on Sunday.
The film-maker called his second win “extraordinary” backstage. “Our breath has been taken away,” Loach said. “We weren’t expecting to come back. We are quietly stunned.”