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'Anora' wins Palme d'Or at the 77th Cannes Film Festival

Sean Baker holds the Palme d'Or for the film <em>Anora</em>, during the awards ceremony of the 77th international film festival in Cannes, southern France, on Saturday.
Andreea Alexandru
/
Invision/AP
Sean Baker holds the Palme d'Or for the film Anora, during the awards ceremony of the 77th international film festival in Cannes, southern France, on Saturday.

The 77th Cannes Film Festival drew to a close on Saturday at the French Riviera city's Grand Théâtre Lumière, with Anora snatching the festival's top prize, the Palme d'Or.

Sean Baker's dramedy, starring Mikey Madison (Better Things, One Upon A Time In Hollywood), tells the story of a New York stripper who gets more than she bargained for when she marries the son of a Russian oligarch.

Baker is the first U.S. filmmaker to win the Palme d'Or since Terrence Malick, who won it for The Tree of Life in 2011.

When accepting his award, Baker spoke from the podium about the importance of the moviegoing experience. "Watching a film with others in a movie theater is one of the great communal experiences," Baker said. "We share laughter, sorrow, anger, fear and hopefully have a catharsis with our friends and strangers. So I say the future of cinema is where it started: in a movie theater.”

Last year's winner of the prestigious award was Justine Triet's Anatomy of a Fall starring Sandra Hüller.

Barbie director Greta Gerwig headed up the main jury, which also included Killers of the Flower Moon actor Lily Gladstone. The jury selected winners from a pool of 22 films in the main competition.

Jury president Greta Gerwig at the awards ceremony of the 77th international film festival in Cannes, southern France, on Saturday.
Andreea Alexandru / Invision/AP
/
Invision/AP
Jury president Greta Gerwig at the awards ceremony of the 77th international film festival in Cannes, southern France, on Saturday.

"I will be forever changed, I think, as a filmmaker because of this experience," Gerwig said at the jury's closing press conference.

"I was so lucky to be with this group of artists," said Gladstone. "We didn't always agree. I learned from the alternate points of view."

Award winners

Honors also went to Miguel Gomes, who won the best director award for Grand Tour; the all-female acting ensemble from the musical comedy Emilia Pérez took the best actress award — Adriana Paz, Zoe Saldana, Karla Sofía Gascón and Selena Gomez; the best actor accolade went to Jesse Plemons for Kinds of Kindness; and Coralie Fargeat won best screenplay for The Substance.

Emilia Pérez also won the jury prize; All We Imagine as Light was the winner of the grand prize; the Camera d’Or prize for best first film was won by the movie Armand, directed by Halfdan Ullmann Tøndel; Nebojša Slijepčević won the Short Film Palme d'Or for The Man Who Could Not Remain Silent; and the special prize was awarded to Mohammad Rasoulof for The Seed of the Sacred Fig.

A shadow was cast over this year's event after the Iranian government charged Rasoulof with creating propaganda against the regime shortly after Cannes selected his film for this year's competition. The thriller focuses on a judge in Tehran's Revolutionary Court who deals with paranoia amid intense political protests. The director was sentenced to eight years behind bars, as well as flogging and a fine.

The cast and crew were interrogated. Rasoulof was pressured to withdraw his movie, but managed to escape to Germany. Rasoulof was present for the film's world premiere screening on Friday. The film received a 12-minute standing ovation. U.S. distributor Neon bought the North American rights.

The festival also awarded a trio of Honorary Palme d'Ors this year — to actress Meryl Streep, Japanese animation powerhouse Studio Ghibli and producer-director George Lucas.

Copyright 2024 NPR

Chloe Veltman
Chloe Veltman is a correspondent on NPR's Culture Desk.