Ruben Östlund Enters Exclusive Two-Timers Club With Cannes Film Festival Win

The 75th Cannes Film Festival has concluded, and the global cadre of industry insiders, movie fanatics, press, and influencers have all made the long trip home. But before everyone put down their final baguette, there was the issue of watching the awards.

Keeping in mind that some of the more high profile titles that make a splash at the French Rivera festival are not actually in competition (meaning Top Gun: Maverick can send jets to fly over the beach, leaving trails of red, white, and blue smoke but not win anything), this year’s victors are household names provided only that your house is the international film festival circuit. 

Swedish director Ruben Östlund now joins the very exclusive club of being a two-time winner of the Palme d’Or, the festival’s top prize. His latest, Triangle of Sadness, beat 20 other contenders. The class-conscious satire stars Harris DickinsonCharlbi Dean, and Woody Harrelson cavorting on yachts and receiving botox injections. Östlund won the Palme in 2017 for The Square, and his 2014 Force Majeure (remade into Downhill with Will Ferrell and Julia-Louis Dreyfus) took home the jury prize at Cannes’s Un Certain Regard sidebar. 


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Östlund’s double-dip puts him in league with Francis Ford Coppola, Bille AugustEmir KusturicaMichael HanekeKen LoachJean-Pierre, and Luc Dardenne, Shōhei Imamura, and his countryman Alf Sjöberg.

This year’s second-place award, the Grand Prix, was a tie. Belgium’s Lukas Dhont, coming off his controversial drama Girl, won with Close, focusing on the friendship of two young boys. He shared with French director Claire Denis for Stars at Noon, in which Margaret Qualley and Joe Alwyn, best known to most of the world as Taylor Swift’s boyfriend, are stuck in a Central American country during the COVID-19 lockdown. (The story is based on a Denis Johnson novel; the pandemic was the Nicaraguan Revolution in the original.) While Denis is a respected director with a tremendous amount of substantial work under her belt, this new was panned by many critics (it scored close to last place on the Screen Daily grid), so its win led some to gnash their teeth, while others exclaimed that its divisiveness was further proof of its genius.

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