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Entries in Cannes (6)

Thursday
Oct062016

ANIMAL INSTINCT: THE BOGDAN MIRICA INTERVIEW

At the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, ‘young, handsome and talented’ chokes the footpaths. So for Romanian writer/director Bogdan Mirica to tick all those boxes and still rise above the din is no small feat. His Coen-esque debut feature Dogs (Caini) tells the story of an inheritance gone bad, when Roman (Dragos Bucur) takes control of his late grandfather’s land only to find local criminal interests need the site for their ongoing operations. Mirica’s fierce, blackly humorous western-noir earned a slot in Un Certain Regard, his command of the narrative and vision within the frame tagging him as one of international cinema’s ‘Next Big Things’. Utterly charming despite my delayed arrival, he spoke with SCREEN-SPACE on the famous Palais de Festival Balcony about mounting such an ambitious first production….

SCREEN-SPACE: What were the origins of your narrative?

MIRICA: I never start a movie with a story; I start it with a feeling. When I was a kid I would spend a lot of time at my grandmother’s home in the countryside, where I witnessed a lot of conflict between the locals; big fights, with axes and hatchets and bike chains. What I found really frightening was not the fighting itself, but the random nature of the conflict. There was no cause, no goal, no real purpose to it. With no causality, you can’t really predict what is going to happen. I kept this sense of dread, that the person in front of you might smash your face with no reason with me for a long time. After 25 years, I knew I had to make a movie to get rid of this fear. That’s what I needed to capture in the movie.

SCREEN-SPACE: The sparse landscape and the ‘good guy/bad guy’ plotting have been compared to the classic American western genre. What cinema inspired your style and storytelling?

MIRICA: Absolutely, the set-up to my film is The Good The Bad and The Ugly, the classic three-guy face-off. The vast wide shot, the cinemascope frame, is clearly taken from the great western era. But the movie is a hybrid of genres. It has western elements, but also the noir thriller, the personal drama, some social realism, some dark humour. I don’t want to be cornered as a filmmaker, as some kind of student of cinema. I am a film buff, for certain, but I am not a scholar. I watch a lot of movies but I don’t try to find theory in a film. I prefer to simply feel it, to react to it organically, especially the first time I watch a movie. If it feels right for me is the only criteria I follow when I’m looking for inspiration. (Pictured, above: Dragos Bucur as Roman)

SCREEN-SPACE: There’s plenty of praise for those ‘contemporary noir’ elements, some critics comparing the mood to classic Coen Brothers works.

MIRICA: That’s very flattering but the directors who inspire me aren’t necessarily reflected in this film. For example, John Cassavetes or Jean-Pierre Melville or Billy Wilder. These directors, amongst others, inspire a certain feeling that I then metabolise into something new, something of my own. I don’t like to quote or reference other works and use them literally.

SCREEN-SPACE: From your background in advertising, where you have lots of money to shoot over a few days, to independent filmmaking, where you have no money and shoot for 30 days. How easy was it to move between the short form and long form movie making?

MIRICA: (Laughs) You’re right! Ten years ago, I had a budget of 1millionEuro to spend in 5 days. I made my movie for 800,000Euro over 25 days. We had a lot of rehearsal time and I spent a lot of time with my DOP on the shot list. When we got on set, we knew exactly what we wanted to shoot, from what angle and with what lens. We still had to adapt to conditions and veer off those plans, of course, but at least we knew what could be changed or gotten rid of without impacting the drama. We moved lean and fast. (Pictured, above: Mirica on-set with actors, l-r, Gheorghe Visu and Vlad Ivanov)

SCREEN-SPACE: Did that help in post-production? Did having a finite amount of footage make editing easier?

MIRICA: Initially, the movie was way more epic. We shot some huge stunts and amazing scenes with lots of animals but decided to cut them out simply because the early versions were just too heavy. We went for an edgier tone that I think stemmed from the unorthodox way in which we edited. The intention was to make the first half of the film quite abrupt, to cut then cut then cut again. I wanted play with the form, to have fun and take some risks. So the editing became a huge and unique creative process that altered the DNA of the movie.

SCREEN-SPACE: Amidst all the darkness, the weighty themes dealing with machismo and violence and so on, there is the wonderfully absurd, almost surreal moment with the foot…

I’d written seven, maybe eight feature scripts and two TV series before I wrote Dogs. And all of them were comedies! It is hard to prevent myself from writing funny, silly stuff (laughs). Sometimes my sense of humour is shit, the kind of humour that has people saying, “What the fuck…?” Now, the scene with the foot, which was a very difficult tracking shot that had to be done very carefully, was initially envisioned as a series of ‘macro’ shots that captured detail and texture, like toenails and skin. But we decided that the scene should not be about the foot specifically, but how it bonds the protagonist with the nemesis. The tracking shot captures that particularly well, I think. And that sequence was originally much longer, like 10 minutes or more of tracking. But the economics of the movie dictated otherwise.

SCREEN-SPACE: What is it about the people and issues of this remote Romanian rural setting that will be relevant to international filmgoers?

(Laughs) But some Romanian people said to me, “Why are you making this movie, which is more like an American western or Australian outback film?” One of my favourite films is John Hillcoat’s The Proposition. I listened to the soundtrack by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis all the time while I was writing Dogs. Another favourite film of mine is Wake in Fright, which not many people in my country know about. These films were more than the sum of their elements, more than just films set in the Australian outback, and I hope my film amounts to more than just a Romanian outback story. I hope it speaks to audiences everywhere about humanity’s corrosive and corrupted nature. That is something mankind must come to terms with in all parts of the world.

Dogs (Caini) is currently in limited release in selected European cinemas; other territories to follow. 

Monday
Jul182016

HARMONIUM: THE KOJI FUKADA INTERVIEW.

Revisiting elements of his 2010 drama Hospitality, writer-director Kôji Fukada crafted one of the 2016 Cannes Film Festival’s breakout titles with his latest, Harmonium (Fuchi ni tatsu). The chilling, slow burn pyscho-drama tells of the disintegration of a seemingly stable family unit when a visitor from a dark past settles amongst them. Cited by Variety as a work of “cinematic and intellectual rigour”, the film earned the Japanese auteur the Un Certain Regard Jury prize. In the wake of the triumphant screening, the 36 year-old director sat with SCREEN-SPACE in a sunny, manicured yard just off The Croisette to talk about his current work, which has it’s Australian premiere next month at the Melbourne International Film Festival

SCREEN-SPACE: You’re cinema is elegant, refined yet deeply affecting. Names such as Eric Rohmer and Robert Bresson have been cited as key influences. Which filmmakers have inspired your work?

Fukada: To be spoken of in the same sentence as those masters is too great an honour. My first influence was my father, as he was a huge film lover. I was exposed to international cinema from a very young age. My childhood home was filled with VHS tapes. I’ll never forget one night, when I was about 14 years of age, I watched two films back-to-back – Marcel Carne’s Chicken Feed for Little Birds and Victor Erice’s The Spirit of The Beehive. Over time, I have recognised that one of my key influences has also been Theo Angelopoulos, a master and pioneer of cinema. His social commentary and artistic achievements come from the highest cinematic level.

SCREEN-SPACE: How did Harmonium develop?

Fukada: It started with a simple synopsis that I wrote in 2006. I had difficulty getting finance for it so, in 2010, I made a film called Hospitality. It is essentially the first half of what you see in Harmonium, like a pilot version of it. It’s also about an intruder coming into the life of a family and disrupting their relationships. When our producer, Koichiro Fukushima, saw Hospitality he came on board and Harmonium began to take shape. It took us 10 years to make the film, so it is a thrill to finally present it here in Cannes. (Pictured, right: a scene from Harmonium with, from left, Kanji Furutachi, Tadanobu Asano, Mariko Tsutsui and Momone Shinokawa).

SCREEN-SPACE: Is there any aspect of your story or characters that will resonate most profoundly with Japanese audiences?

Fukada: If anything, it is the husband/father character of Toshio, a patriarchal figure who does not comfortably verbalize his emotions or communicate with the other family members. He is that traditionally conservative Japanese father figure, though I’m sure they exist in other countries as well. Something intrinsically Japanese is the role that the husband undertakes when children arrive, adopting the father role to a much greater extent that the husband role. Similarly, the wife very much becomes the ‘mother’ figure. Instead of coalescing as a unit, a ‘family’, they become individuals bound to the expectations of their new roles.

SCREEN-SPACE: Is this duality, this thematic strand that suggests even the most closely-knit unit is only as strong as the individual, indicative of your beliefs?

Fukada: It is very difficult to distinguish myself from my work. They represent how I view the world and how I view humanity. In this story, we have a community of people we call a ‘family’, the very smallest kind of human community that exists. But what I wanted to explore was how the individuals within this seemingly close community still possess an essential solitude. That represents my view on human beings. (Pictured, right; Fukada, far right, with his actors Kanji Furutachi and Mariko Tsutsui attending the 2016 Cannes Film Festival).

SCREEN-SPACE: You draw naturalistic performances from the cast. Were you able to work with them for long periods in the development of the script and in rehearsal?

Fukada: We had a short rehearsal period, perhaps 2 or 3 days, but with such a modest budget and with the time constraints that rehearsals place on actors, our planning was limited. But there were many hours of in-depth discussion with the cast, especially Kanji Furutachi, with whom I have collaborated on four projects. I don’t want my actors to just do a read-through, or be bound by their actions in a single room. I don’t feel there is a lot of value to rehearsal unless it is very near to the on-set experience, so I will prefer to rehearse on location or on a finished set. And that’s very difficult and expensive to do, to be on-set and not be filming.

SCREEN-SPACE: Are your sets collaborative environments or are you very clear with your cast as to their roles in your vision?

Fukada: I don’t want the actors to be an alter ego of me. I want them to exist as individuals who are living in the moments they create. So rather than ask of them to build a character in a particular way, be that physical or emotional, I ask them be present, with their cast mates, just as you and I are now. It is essential that they not act, but react and interact with each other. That all begins with my role as writer and director. I must ensure the actors are honest and truthful in any moment (and) that complexity has to be there in my screenplay. (Pictured, right; a scene from of Harmonium).

SCREEN-SPACE: You eschew close-ups, maintaining a very respectful distance between the actor and your lens. Why so?

Fukada: I keep the relationship between the actor and the camera very simple. My camera keeps a certain distant from the actors because being in close proximity feels as if I am trying to explain or define the intent of the scene to the audience.

SCREEN-SPACE: Looking more broadly at your homeland’s film industry, is it a happy place for independent cinema and your auteur peers?

Fukada: It is very difficult for arthouse films in Japan. We don’t have an organising body, like France’s CNC or South Korea’s KOFIC, which negotiates subsidies and provides administration for the sector. Bodies like that exist to promote diversity, which is crucial to a vibrant film sector. These organisations understand audience needs, so a genre film can be produced and marketed to a large audience at the same time that an arthouse film with specialised needs can be promoted to a niche sector and succeed. That balance allows for a very rich cinematic culture, both commercially and critically. In Japan’s economic system, it is very difficult to make such a system work; if a film does not recoup its cost, it becomes very hard for the creative people involved to survive.

Ticket and session information for Melbourne International Film Festival screenings of Harmonium can be found attheevent's official website.

Friday
Jun242016

TO DIE FOR: THE ANURAG KASHYAP INTERVIEW

His best films are confronting, contemporary works that challenge India’s filmmaking culture. Similarly, Anurag Kashyap defies expectations as an interviewee; his stare is intense, but his manner is gentle, his voice clear but soft. And fast; his perfect English and fierce intelligence makes it a challenge to keep pace. The 42 year-old director, best known for the visceral 2012 crime epic Gangs of Wasseypur, is in Cannes to shepherd his latest through a Director’s Fortnight slot; Raman Raghav 2.0 is a purely cinematic re-imagining of the life of India’s most notorious serial killer, whose random brutality terrorised Mumbai locals in the mid 1960s. “He is the Jack the Ripper of India, and we stuck to the facts of the case very closely,” says Kashyap, midway through a lengthy chat with SCREEN-SPACE in a 5th floor lounge, a few blocks from The Croisette…

SCREEN-SPACE: How long have you wanted to tell this story?

Kashyap: When I got into the business of moviemaking, my first job as an apprentice was during post-production on a film based on the life of Raman Raghav. I never knew of him before, but I was writing crime short stories so I immediately became curious. I had access to all this material and was soon obsessed with making a film on Raman Raghav, an obsession that lasted 23 years.

SCREEN-SPACE: Why has it taken so long for you to realise the project?

Kashyap: We’ve had this script for the last six years, but I just couldn’t get the money to make the film. In India, we make very happy movies and a dark film like this, and a period film as well which immediately means it will cost a lot of money, no studio felt it would be feasible. But I was so invested in the story. And then, a lot of changes started to happen in India, politically and socially. Suddenly there is a lot fear in society; modern living became scarier, both in India and around the world. People have become so fearful of fundamentalism that they have become fundamentalists themselves. It was then that I realised the only way I was going to get the film made was to contemporise it. I actually had the title before I had the script! Raman Raghav 2.0, an updated version, like an iPhone (laughs). (Pictured, right; Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the title role)

SCREEN-SPACE: What was key to transplanting such a protagonist into modern day Indian society?

Kashyap: When I started writing, all these modern fears started to seep into the story. Working from my imagination and creating the mindset of the character, I realised he viewed himself as a much more pure person. Here is a criminal, a brutal criminal, who we know is going to kill, but then there is another man, a policeman who is supposed to protect me but who is also a killer, with his own reasons and conclusions. The serial killer murders because he wants to, that is easy to rationalise; it is a purity of thought. It is a complex philosophy, however warped it may be.

SCREEN-SPACE: Between Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s homicidal psychopath and Vicky Kaushal’s corrupt, unhinged cop (pictured, right), might audiences find it hard to root for anyone?

Kashyap: The audience is forced to root for the world that these characters co-exist in. I am rooting for what is outside of the room when the two of them share a scene. I hope that someday, society will learn what goes on when two people like this are together, how they manipulate reality for their own gain. That is the world today and that is what the film represents. I wouldn’t be allowed to address the politics of the story directly in my country, so I address within the construct of a genre film. Genre films have always played that purpose, subverting the politics of their society. When this film comes out in India, people will start to discuss and debate its politics. I want that discussion to take place.

SCREEN-SPACE: The two men certainly represent two sides of the same coin, as it were…

Kashyap: ‘Raman’ is the name of the villainous god in Indian mythology. But in Sri Lanka, the same ‘Raman’ is the hero. So our religion, our very belief systems, has this dichotomy about the co-existence of good and evil. In India, there is much discussion about this aspect of our existence, of belittling one belief system in favour of your own. That intolerance is what is afflicting the world at the moment.

SCREEN-SPACE: Are you concerned that the film might glorify the killer? Of turning him into a ‘Robin Hood’-type anti-hero?

Kashyap: Indian people know the story of the real Raman Raghav and they won’t confuse this movie’s version of him with the terrible person he was in real life. I’m doing more than projecting him as an anti-hero. I’m using the fact that audiences who flock to see him already view him as an anti-hero. This film is not a ‘whodunnit’, it is not about who is the serial killer; audiences go into the film knowing who the protagonist is. You know, I showed my actors and crew two films, Let the Right One In and We Are What We Are. These are neo-realistic films, about vampires and cannibals, which barely touch on the horror of their existence. I wanted to stress that we did not want to make a film about a serial killer, but about an individual trying to survive in a society with which his belief system is entirely at odds. (Pictured, right; Kashyap, centre, during the shoot).

SCREEN-SPACE: Your leading man, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, said this of you: “When he is behind the camera, I feel his supportive hand pushing me to break new ground and redefine boundaries…”

Kashyap: He is the clay I need to mould a character. Graciously, he allows me to do that. That trust comes from 17, 18 years of struggle together. In the early years, I promised him that we would make a film together and I would put him at the centre of it. I cast him in his first speaking role, two lines as a waiter in 1997 (laughs). We have such a comfort zone together. And that level of understanding and communication was crucial, as we only had three weeks to shoot. I sat down during pre-production and separated scenes and allocated dollars. All the sequences in the street were shot with a crew of four. We literally jumped out of a van, shot the footage, and left (laughs).

Raman Raghav 2.0 debuts Friday June 24 in worldwide release.

Thursday
May262016

BEAUTIFUL CREATURES: THE BRUNO DUMONT INTERVIEW.

The words 'Bruno Dumont' and ‘comedy’ are not often spoken in the same sentence. The French auteur’s films have largely been bleak, desperate studies of flawed characters struggling with tragic lives (The Life of Jesus, 1997; L'Humanite, 1999; Twentynine Palms, 2003; Flanders, 2006; Hadejwich, 2009; Camille Claudel 1915, 2013). But the 58 year-old plunges into the blackly ridiculous with Ma Loute (Slack Bay, in English territories), a Monty-Python-meets-Downtown-Abbey slice of magical surrealism in which he dissects the Gallic class divide as it existed in the summer of 1910. Set amidst the dunes and estuaries of his beloved northern French coastline, Dumont constructs a murder mystery that pits the vacationing upper class and clearly inbred Van Petegham clan (amongst them, Fabrice Luchini and a gloriously over-the-top Juliette Binoche) in conflict with local river-folk/cannibal peasants, The Bruforts (led by the titular teenager, played by Brandon Lavieville). “I always had comedy in me but I couldn’t find the right place to express it,” the director told SCREEN-SPACE (via an interpreter), while snacking on pistachios at the UniFrance tent as the Cannes Film Festival buzzed around us…

SCREEN-SPACE: Does this new willingness to explore comedy suggest a change in your own perspective of the world? Why a comedy now?

Dumont: When I finally settled upon the story of Ma Loute, commissioned the actors and set about scouting for locations, it was very liberating as it felt like I was about to fulfil a long-held desire. It ultimately fulfilled something that was lacking in my body of work, something (of which) I had not been fully aware. Comedy allowed me to more fully cover the spectrum of human experience that I had been striving to depict. Humour, (that) ability to find comedy in our lives, is something that had been lacking in my films. Also, my nature is to be adventurous, to try things that I have not done before, and that is not always easy in an industry that wants you to stick to what has been successful in the past. My next film is going to be a musical*, because I’ve never done that before.

SCREEN-SPACE: Did you feel that you and ‘comedy’ were a natural fit?

Dumont: I add irony to make the drama at the heart of my work explode. (Just) changing my approach I make it more comedic. I also think I bring my own reputation down a peg by trying some comedy, too. So it feels good to have found an outlet. (Pictured, right; l-r, Juliette Binoche, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi and Fabrice Luchini in La Moute)

SCREEN-SPACE: Setting the film at the turn of the century recalls the beginning of cinema; much of the physical comedy recalls the great pratfalls of silent era comedians. Why this period?

Dumont: Setting the film in this period helped me deflect the question of ‘realism’ that always dogs me. Being in the past, made it easier to look more like a metaphor. The year of 1910 represents a poetic metaphor; a time and a place that does not exist anymore, so contemporary audiences can define it as an allegory. The advantage in recreating that period is that everything is very extreme; the difference between the poor and the rich is very visible. It is already comic, in a way. Comedy works on simplification and here the contrast is already simple. I am always looking for a means by which to use distortion and exaggeration, and this time can be easily represented as ridiculous. The costumes, for instance, and how the wealthy behave in each other’s company appears extreme and ridiculous by current standards.

SCREEN-SPACE: You pitch much of the dialogue very high, demand some very broad, boisterous performances from your cast, none more so than the wonderful Juliette Binoche. The film represents a fresh tonality in your work.

Dumont: Cinema is, by definition, something quite stiff. The frame and the mise en scene is something quite organised, necessitating structure. But once you have that structure, inside it you can let creativity and inspiration flow in. That’s what I did with the characters and with certain elements of the plot. I like having professional actors only if I can distort their performances. If I can’t there is no point taking them on. I don’t like them or need them for what they are. I would never take professional actors for the fisherman family, for example, because they would really piss me off, trying to ‘create’ fisherman characters. With the non-professionals, I don’t need to believe in their ‘normal’ acting, or in my asking them to do what they can’t do. I only take them if they are relevant to the subject matter, and here I had a bunch of crazy eccentrics. It was fun to work with them and to distort their performances. (Pictured, above; Juliette Binoche as Aude Van Petegham in La Moute).

SCREEN-SPACE: You find the grotesque in both the pompous Petegham family and the brutal Brufort household. But you don’t draw a conclusion on whose existence represents the better life.

Dumont: Cinema is not inherently a moral field. Cinema has to be above the good and the bad otherwise there is no way to reflect upon it. The clash of social classes in my film is so exaggerated, so grotesque, so beyond the limits, it is hard to take very seriously. On one side they are cannibals, on the other they are an inbred family, totally nuts and impossible to relate to either. But within the spectrum that audiences bring to a film, the characters represent a mirror of sorts to our self. We all have this primitive, rural human being in us, and we possess the potential to be a totally stupid bourgeoisie. I wouldn’t be stupid enough to take one side over the other. (And) these are cinematic characters, clearly not real people.

SCREEN-SPACE: Overnight, Variety published their review of Ma Loute and critic Peter Debruge called you ‘a grump’, the ‘misanthropic filmmaker’. How do you respond to that perception of you and your work?

Dumont: (Pause) I am absolutely the opposite of that. I wonder how they can see misanthropy, when I’m glorifying my characters cinematically. Some people say the opposite (to Variety’s opinion), that this director is not misanthropic and is a lover of human nature, so the problem is not with me but with the reviewer. (This is) an immediate reaction to what they saw, and fails to see the metaphor; it bases their understanding of the film on a first impression. When I film a jerk, my aim is to elevate him to a saint, but they just see the vehicle, the first layer of characterisation. While some say the character of Ma Loute is ugly, some say he is a beauty; interpretation does not depend on me but depends on the viewer. I am not a philanthropist but nor am I a misanthrope. I remain neutral, in creating my characters with my actors. I hear it, like you do, but what can I do? Cinema has nothing to do with reality, it is a representation, so all these moral questions and talk of misanthropy are meaningless for me. (Pictured, above; Dumont with his cast at the Cannes Film Festival premiere of La Moute)

*‘Jeanette,’ a musical drama based on Charles Peguy’s play Le Mystere de la charite de Jeanne d’Arc, will be produced for French television and play theatrically overseas.

Australian distribution of Ma Loute (Slack Bay) will be via Sharmill Films, who acquired the title in Cannes; it will screen at the 2016 Melbourne International Film Festival.

Sunday
May222016

CANNES FAVOURS PAST WINNERS WITH 2016 COMPETITION PRIZES

One of the favourite sons of the Cannes Film Festival, veteran British director Ken Loach, has won the 2016 Palme d’Or for his working-class battlers drama I, Daniel Blake.

It is the second time the top honour earned by that the master of social realism, with his 2006 revolutionary story The Wind That Shakes the Barley also impressing the festival jury; in 2012, he won the Jury Prize for The Angel’s Share. The 79 year-old (pictured, above, accepting the honour) was first nominated for the Palme d’Or in 1981 for Looks and Smiles and has amassed 14 festival trophies in total. "Our breath has been taken away, as we weren't really expecting to come back (with this film)," said Loach, "We are all quietly stunned."

Aside from Loach’s well-received film, the weight of critical opinion held very little sway with Jury President, Australian director George Miller, and his fellow judges. French-Canadian enfant terrible Xavier Dolan’s critically reviled drama Juste La Fin Du Monde (It’s Only The End Of The World) took home the Grand Prix, an honour awarded last year to 2016 Jury member Laszlo Nemes for his holocaust drama Son of Saul (Dolan was a Juror in 2015). "After an experience like this evening, we realised that the film's message got through," said Dolan in the press conference.

The best-reviewed film of the festival, Maren Ade’s blackly funny drama Toni Erdmann, travels home empty-handed. “We avoided at looking what other people were saying,” said Miller, when asked about the perceived snub. “We did the best we could after many, many hours of conversation.” (Pictured, above; Xavier Dolan accepting the award).

The Best Director honour was split between Frenchman Olivier Assayas for his wildly divisive supernatural drama, Personal Shopper, and Romanian helmer Christian Mungui for Bacalaureat (Graduation). Both were past Cannes attendees, with Assayas previously nominated for 4 Palme d’Ors while Mungui earned three trophies in 2007 for 4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days. British director Andrea Arnold took home her third Cannes gong (after Red Road, 2006; and Fish Tank, 2009), winning the Jury Prize for her American road movie odyssey, American Honey. (Featured, below; the trailer for Christian Mungui's Bacalaureat) 

As dictated by the current voting guidelines, which demand films that win the top honours cannot vie for further honours, jury love was shared across many contenders. Iranian auteur Asghar Farhadi (Palme d’Or nominee for The Past, 2013) won the Best Screenplay Award for The Salesman, his tension-filled drama also earning Best Actor kudos for his leading man, Shahab Hosseini. Best Actress winner was Jaclyn Jose for Brilliante Mendoza’s Ma Rosa, the jury called upon to deflect questions that the performance was more a stunning support turn than the lead role.

The Camera d’Or for best debut film was won by French filmmaker Houda Benyamini for Divines, a contemporary look at the problems faced by young women in Paris.

Prior to this evening’s ceremony, awards were announced for other programmes strands. Un Certain Regard jury president, iconic Swiss actress Marthe Keller, issued a statement on behalf of her fellow judges,, noting, Every film turned out to be rich in cinematic discoveries and insights into our world, addressing themes of family, politics and cultural differences." The top honour in this strand, Prize of Un Certain Regard was awarded to Juho Kuosmanen’s Hymyileva Mies (The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki; pictured, right), a monochromatic boxing biopic, shot on 16mm, that represents a triumphant debut feature for the Finnish director. The French/Japanese co-production La Tortue Rouge (The Red Turtle), a dialogue-free animated drama from Studio Ghibli and Dutch director Michael Dudok de Wit took the Un Certain Regard Special Jury Prize, with the low-key thriller Fuchi Ni Tatsu (Harmonium) from Japanese director Fukada Kôji earned the second-place  Jury Prize. Individual trophies were awarded U.S. director Matt Ross for his upbeat family drama Captain Fantastic, starring Viggo Mortensen, while screenplay honours went to French siblings Delphine and Muriel Coulin for their military drama Voir du Pays (The Stopover).

Three prizes are awarded by the international critic’s organisation FIPRESCI. Cannes sensation Toni Erdmann, the darkly funny German/Austrian drama from Maren Ade, took Best Picture trophy for an In Competition title while Caini (Dogs) from Romanian Bogdan Mirica earned the corresponding honour from the Un Certain Regard line-up. The Best Picture winner from the Director’s Fortnight/Critic’s Week programme was the breakout horror hit from the festival, Julia Ducournau’s sibling rivalry/cannibal shocker Raw (scene clip, above).

The Cinefoundation strand honours short film contributions by student filmmakers, with 18 films (14 live action, 4 animated) shortlisted in 2016 for the three trophies. Jury president Naomi Kawase awarded first prize to Anna, directed by Or Sinai from Israel’s Sam Spiegel Film & TV School; second prize was awarded to In The Hills, directed by Hamid Ahmadi, from The London Film School. Jury members could not split a third placegetter amongst the hotly-contested category, dividing the honour between A Nyalintas Nesze, directed by Nadja Andrasev, of Hungary’s Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, and La Culpa Probablemente, directed by Michael Labarca from Universidad de Los Andes, Venezuela. (Pictured, above; the Cinefoundation filmmakers)