'The Square' rounds off Cannes Festival as surprise Palme d'Or winner

The Irish-produced 'The Killing of a Sacred Deer' also won for its screenplay

'The Square' rounds off Cannes Festival as surprise Palme d'Or winner

Juliette Binoche and Pedro Almodovar watch in delight as Ruben Ostlund celebrates his win [Alastair Grant/AP/Press Association Images]

The Swedish satire The Square was the surprise winner at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, with the film claiming the Palme d’Or.

Mocking modern male identities and political correctness, director Ruben Östlund shouted “Oh my god, oh my god!” when he took to the stage to accept one of the most coveted prizes in filmmaking.

It was a surprise choice by the nine-member jury, which featured directors Pedro Almodovar and Maren Ade and Hollywood stars Jessica Chastain and Will Smith.

At 140 minutes, the art world satire pokes holes in the concepts of creative liberty, free speech and gender roles, and features Elisabeth Moss and Dominic West in small roles the peel back the self-importance of the art set.

French film 120 Beats per Minute, which deals with the reaction to the AIDS crisis in the 1990s, had been tipped to claim the prestigious Palme d’Or, but instead took the runners-up Grand Prix prize.

“This film is an homage to those who died but also those who survived and are still alive, who had so much courage,” said Robin Campillo, the director and a former member of the ACT UP movement featured in the film.

Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Loveless, a drama about how society is struggling under Vladimir Putin, took the ‘Jury Prize’, considered third place at Cannes.

At the 70th annual festival in the Riviera city, Sofia Coppola was named ‘Best Director’ for her antebellum potboiler The Beguiled, starring Kirsten Dunst, Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell. The American director is only the second woman to claim the prize, and the first since Yuliya Solntseva won for 1961’s The Chronicle of Flaming Years.

German model-turned-actress Diane Kruger was named ‘Best Actress’ for her role in Fatih Akin’s  In the Fade. Playing a woman who loses her husband and child in a Hamburg terrorist explosion, Kruger reflected on last week’s Manchester attack throughout the festival.

“I cannot accept this award without thinking of everyone who has been touched by an act of terrorism... You have not been forgotten,” she said while accepting her award.

Joaquin Phoenix, wearing white runners with his black-tie suit, took home ‘Best Actor’ for Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here. The three-time Oscar nominee plays a vigilante former soldier in the ultraviolent thriller, though he was mostly apologetic to the crowd for not dressing more formally.

“I don’t wear leather,” the vegetarian explained.

It was good news for Irish cinema, in the form of Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lantimos; his film The Killing of a Sacred Deer, also starring Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman, won ‘Best Screenplay’. The film was produced by the Irish production house Element Pictures and financially supported by the Irish Film Board.

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