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Parasite, South Korean movie wins the Palme D’Or

June 02 2019

This year’s jury presided by Alejandro González Iñárritu was composed of French author-artist-director Enki Bilal, French director Robin Campillo, Senegalese actress-director Maimouna N’Diaye, American actress Elle Fanning, Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos, Polish director Paweł Pawlikowski, American director Kelly Reichardt, and Italian director Alice Rohrwacher.

They unanimously voted to award the Palme d’Or to South Korean director Bong Joon-ho for his film Parasite. Inarritu explained their enthusiasm for the film at the post-ceremony press conference:

“We all shared the mystery of the unexpected way this film took us through different genres and spoke in a funny, humorous, tender way — with no judgment — of something so relevant and urgent, so global in such a local film, with such a beautiful efficiency of media, and an understanding of what film really is. We were all fascinated when we saw it, and it kept growing and growing: that’s why it was a unanimous decision.”

In a nutshell the film tells the story of a lower-class family who tries to improve their social situation by infiltrating a rich household.

The jury also awarded the other prizes of the Cannes Film Festival:

- Best actress went to British rising star Emily Beecham for Jessica Hausner’s “Little Joe.

- Best actor went to Antonio Banderas who reflected on 40 years of carreer dedicating his award for his leading role in Pain in Glory to it’s director, Pedro Aldmodovar:

“ People think we live in a red carpet, but it’s not true. We suffer a lot, we sacrifice, and there is a lot of pain behind an actor of any kind. But there is also glory, and this is my night of glory…The best is still to come.”

- The jury prize went to two political features: Ladj Ly’s “Les Misérables” and Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles’ “Bacurau” .

- The best director’s prize went to Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne for “Young Ahmed”. The film portrays a Muslim teenager being brainwashed by a radical imam in Belgium and who attempts to kill his teacher.

- The screenplay award went to Céline Sciamma for « Portrait of a Lady on Fire » a feminist and lesbian subject.

- The special mention of the jury went to Elia Suleiman’s “It Must Be Heaven” the rare comedy in this year’s competition.

It comes as an evidence that most chosen films deal with social considerations. Iñárritu commented their choices:

“Art can sometimes see the future… I think that now cinema has an urgency of social consciousness expressed by different people around the world.” But “We would not care about who directed, what country, what political message — that honestly should not matter as much as the film itself. The cinema has to speak by itself. These were cinematic decisions, not political agendas.”

Parallel awards such as Un Certain Regard were given by different jurys. (see winners below)

The awards were followed by the screening of the world premiere “The Specials,” by Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano. a feel-good Gaumont comedy about two men dedicated to teaching young autists.


Palme d’Or: “Parasite,” Bong Joon-ho
Grand Prix: “Atlantics,” Mati Diop
Director: Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, “Young Ahmed”
Actor: Antonio Banderas, “Pain and Glory”
Actress: Emily Beecham, “Little Joe”
Jury Prize — TIE: “Les Misérables,” Ladj Ly; “Bacurau,” Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles
Screenplay: Céline Sciamma, “Portrait of a Lady on Fire”
Special Mention: “It Must Be Heaven,” Elia Suleiman


Camera d’Or: “Our Mothers,” Cesar Diaz
Short Films Palme d’Or: “The Distance Between the Sky and Us,” Vasilis Kekatos
Short Films Special Mention: “Monster God,” Agustina San Martin
Golden Eye Documentary Prize: “For Sama”
Ecumenical Jury Prize: “Hidden Life,” Terrence Malick
Queer Palm: “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” Céline Sciamma


Un Certain Regard Award: “The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão,” Karim Aïnouz
Jury Prize: “Fire Will Come,” Oliver Laxe
Best Director: Kantemir Balagov, “Beanpole”
Best Performance: Chiara Mastroianni, “On a Magical Night”
Special Jury Prize: Albert Serra, “Liberté”
Special Jury Mention “Joan of Arc,” Bruno Dumont
Coup de Coeur Award: “A Brother’s Love,” Monia Chokri; “The Climb,” Michael Angelo Covino


Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers Prize: “An Easy Girl,” Rebecca Zlotowski
Europa Cinemas Label: “Alice and the Mayor,” Nicolas Parisier
Illy Short Film Award: “Stay Awake, Be Ready,” An Pham Thien


Nespresso Grand Prize: “I Lost My Body,” Jérémy Clapin
Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers Prize: César Díaz, “Our Mothers”
GAN Foundation Award for Distribution: The Jokers Films, French distributor for “Vivarium” by Lorcan Finnegan
Louis Roederer Foundation Rising Star Award: Ingvar E. Sigurðsson, “A White, White Day”