Ahed’s Knee is a searing critique of artistic censorship in Israel and received some of its funding from the Israel Film Fund and the Culture and Sport Ministry. Nadav’s previous film, Synonyms, about an Israeli in Paris trying to become French, won the Golden Bear, the top prize at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2019.
US director Spike Lee was the jury president this year and he seemed to accidentally announce the winner of the Palme d’Or, the festival’s top prize, earlier than planned due to a mixup, according to deadline.com
The event’s hostess asked Lee, in French, if he could announce the “first prize” and instead of going in chronological order, the director said Julia Ducournau’s Titane had won. Titane tells the story of a son who has been missing for 10 years and is reunited with his father in the wake of a violent crime spree. Ducournau is the second woman to win the top prize at Cannes. The first was Jane Campion for The Piano 28 years ago.
The hostess moved on to the prize that was supposed to be given at that moment – Best Actor for Nitram’s Caleb Landry Jones. Lee asked that from then on, everyone should speak English to him to avoid any further mix-ups, which drew laughter. Twitter blew up over the snafu.
The rest of the jury was comprised of French director/actress Mati Diop, French pop star Mylène Farmer, American actress/director Maggie Gyllenhaal, Austrian director Jessica Hausner, French director/actress Mélanie Laurent, Brazilian director Kleber Mendonça Filho, French actor Tahar Rahim, and Korean actor Song Kang-ho.
Cannes usually takes place in early May, but last year it was postponed and eventually cancelled due to the pandemic. This year, audiences wore masks and certain other regulations were in place, including frequent tests for all attending. Lea Seydoux, an actress who stars in Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch, which was shown in the main competition, was the highest profile Cannes attendee to test positive for COVID-19 and had to sit out the red carpet and press conferences.
Eran Kolirin’s latest film, Let There Be Morning, took part in the prestigious Un Certain Regard competition but did not win. Let There Be Morning tells the story of a Palestinian who returns with his family to the village where he grew up for a wedding, only to find himself trapped there. The fact that the seven Arab actors who appeared in the film did not attend the festival with Kolirin as a protest against the Israeli government drew headlines. Two of Kolirin’s previous films, The Band’s Visit and Beyond the Mountains and Hills also competed at Cannes.
Ari Folman’s animated docu-drama Where is Anne Frank?, a film that looks at the famous diarist's final days before her death at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, was screened out of competition and received rave reviews.