The Square bags Palme 'Or at Cannes, Sofia Coppola named best director

Swedish director Ruben Ostlund with his Palme d'Or award, which he won for the film The Square.
Swedish director Ruben Ostlund with his Palme d'Or award, which he won for the film The Square. PHOTO: AFP

CANNES (NYTimes) - The Square - a slick social commentary from Sweden - was the surprise winner of the 70th Cannes Film Festival.

Directed by Ruben Ostlund, the movie had not been a critical favourite but critics do not bestow the Palme d'Or, the festival's highest award.

That job is left to the main selection jury, which this year included five directors - two of them women - and was headed by Pedro Almodovar.

Sofia Coppola became the second woman in the festival's history to win best director at this auteurist temple.

She won for The Beguiled, a remake of a Southern gothic, starring Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman and set during the Civil War.

 

The awards capped what had been an often disappointing festival characterised by a fairly weak feature-film competition, misfires from venerated auteurs and rumours that some movies had been rushed into the festival before they had been fully edited.

For the most part, the titles in the main competition steered away from overtly commenting on current affairs. The outside world was nevertheless made palpably present by the increased security in and around the festival headquarters.

The organisers nevertheless put on a good show with the usual glamour, nostalgia and a musical number from French performer Benjamin Biolay.