Australian film Nitram, which tells the story of the 1996 Port Arthur massacre, has won a grand gong at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.
Caleb Landry Jones won the best actor award at the festival for his portrayal of Martin Bryant, who killed 35 people in a shooting in Tasmania 25 years ago.
Directed by Justin Kurzel, the making of the film attracted much comment in Australia due to fears that it would be one of the worst mass shootings in local history.
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The film ends before filming begins in Port Arthur.
Accepting the gong, Jones breathlessly thanked those who voted for his performance.
“You know I’m sorry … thank the jury … I can’t do this. Thank you very much,” Jones said to raucous applause.
The winner of the Palme d’Or, the highest award at the Cannes Film Festival, was French cinema. Titans, which tells the story of a young woman who survives a car accident as a child and continues to have a peculiar relationship with cars into adulthood.
It divided critics with vocal supporters and naysayers, but Lee’s jury, fellow directors Mati Diop, Kleber Mendonça Filho, Jessica Hausner, actors Maggie Gyllenhaal, Mélanie Laurent, Tahar Rahim and Song Kang-ho, and singer-songwriter Mylène Farmer considered timely award him the highest honors.
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The Grand Prize, the festival’s second prize, was jointly awarded to Asghar Farhadi’s A hero and Juho Kusomanen’s Compartment no 6.
Iran, two-time Oscar winner, Farhadi’s intricate moral work A hero focuses on a prisoner whose good deed on liberation day unleashes a chain of fortune and misfortune.
Compartment no 6 has been compared to a “Finnish Before dawn“for her unconventional cute encounter on a train.
Best director went to the French Leos Carax for his musical Annette, starring Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard as prime lovers in a doomed romance, set to music by the cult pop duo Sparks.
Best Screenplay was awarded to Ryusuke Hamaguchi for Drive my car, the Japanese director’s adaptation of a short story by Haruki Murakami.
With additional reporting from CNN