Haneke joins elite group of two-time Palme d'Or recipients with his latest film
At the closing ceremony of the 65th Cannes Film Festival last night, Austrian director Michael Haneke was awarded the Palme d’Or for his film “Amour” – a love story about two octogenarians set almost exclusively in a Paris apartment.
For Haneke, it is his second time receiving the accolade, having won the award three years ago for “Das Weisse Band” (the White Ribbon) – his mesmerizing morality tale set in a feudal village in Germany on the eve of the First World War.
This time, however, the subject matter was a contemporary one and far closer to the heart of the veteran director, who has been responsible for some of the most innovative and enriching film-making over the last 30 years.
In becoming a two-times Palme d’Or winner, Haneke joins an elite brotherhood that includes American Francis Ford Coppola, Belgium’s Dardenne brothers and Serbia’s Emir Kusturica.
Jean-Louis Trintignant (who won “Best Actor” in 1969) and Emmanuelle Riva played the principal roles in the film which was a popular choice and had many viewers moved to tears for its sympathetic portrayal of love in the autumn years of ones life. Riva said that an actor’s craft was one of of sharing and that she therefore wanted to share the golden palm. Trintignant said that Haneke was “the greatest living film director.”
The top prize for best actor in a leading role went to Dane Mads Mikkelsen (best known to Irish audience as “Le Chiffre” in “Casino Royale”) for his role in “The Hunt” by his compatriot Thomas Vinterberg, while the Best Actress award went to the two main female players (Cosmina Startan and Cristina Fluturin) in “Beyond the Hills” – a Romanian film by Christian Mungiu, who also picked up a gong for the screenplay.
The Palme d’Or for the best short went to Turkish entry “Sessiz-Be Deng” by L.Rezan Yesilbas. The Caméra d’Or prize to recompense first-time directors went to American Benh Zeitlin’s “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
The Best Director prize went to Carlos Reygadas (best known for his engaging and explicit “Battle in Heaven”) for “Post Tenebras Lux”.
Ken Loach, who was a winner here in 2006 for his Irish film “The Wind That Shakes the Barley”, was awarded the Prix du Jury for his film about unemployed Glaswegians entitled “The Angels’ Share”.
Below is a clip from last night’s ceremony, introduced by Jury president (and himself no stranger to the Palme d’Or) Nanni Moretti, in which Michael Haneke thanks his wife for her support over 30 years and in which he also extends his heartfelt thanks to his actors who were “the essence of this film.”