French director Jacques Audiard won this year’s Palme d’Or for Dheepan, which tells story of a Tamil Tiger refugee trying to make a new life in France only to find himself in a crime-ridden estate on the edge of Paris. Audiard previously won top prize at Cannes for his 2012 film Rust and Bone and received the Grand Prix for A Prophet in 2010.
The choice, made by a jury led by American filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen, was a surprise. “This isn’t a jury of film critics,” said Joel Coen. “This is a jury of artists who are looking at the work.”
Audiard said: “To receive a prize from the Coen brothers is something pretty exceptional. I’m very touched. I'm thinking of my father.”
This year’s Grand Prix was presented to the Holocaust drama Son of Saul, the debut film by Hungarian director László Nemes. The festival’s Jury Prize went Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Lobster, a dystopian comedy starring Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz.
The Camera d’Or is the festival’s prize for best first feature. This year it went to Colombian César Augusto Acevedo for his family drama La tierra y la sombra.
Taiwanese filmmaker Hou Hsiao-hsien took best director for his martial arts thriller The Assassin. This was his first film in eight years.
The best screenplay award went to Mexican writer-director Michel Franco for the emotional Chronic, starring Tim Roth, who lost out in best actor category to Vincent Lindon for The Measure of a Man (La Loi du marche).
The best actress award was shared between Rooney Mara for Todd Haynes’s Patricia Highsmith adaptation, Carol, and Emmanuelle Bercot for Maïwenn’s Mon roi.
The best short film prize was presented to Waves ‘98, directed by Ely Dagher.
French New Wave veteran Agnès Varda, director of classics such as Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962), was awarded with a special lifetime achievement Palme.
The competition was to a large degree overshadowed by a row over dress codes and accusations of sexism after several women reported being turned away from screenings for not wearing high heels. Film producer Valeria Richter, who has part of her left foot amputated, was one of those stopped. The festival denied high heels were part of the official dress code.
Cannes 2015 winners in full
- Palme d’Or - Jacques Audiard for Dheepan
- Grand Prix - László Nemes for Son of Saul
- Jury Prize - Yorgos Lanthimos for The Lobster
- Camera d’Or - César Augusto Acevedo for La tierra y la sombra (Land and Shade)
- Best director - Hou Hsiao-hsien for The Assassin
- Best screenplay - Michel Franco for Chronic
- Best actress - Rooney Mara for Carol and Emmanuelle Bercot for Mon roi
- Best actor - Vincent Lindon for La Loi du marche
- Short film - Ely Dagher for Waves ‘98
- Honorary Palme d’Or - Agnès Varda