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Julia Ducournau Becomes the Second Female Director Ever to Win the Palme d’Or

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Julia Ducournau Becomes the Second Female Director Ever to Win the Palme d’Or

Over the past 11 days, the world’s attention has been firmly fixed on this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Yes, there have been plenty of showstopping red carpet moments to write home about—from Bella Hadid’s Schiaparelli golden lungs, to Isabelle Huppert’s razor-sharp Balenciaga gown, to Timothée Chalamet and Tilda Swinton’s budding friendship and complementary tailoring—but equally exciting has been the selection of films premiering, with many critics agreeing it was the festival’s most impressive (and most lurid) showing in years.

Tonight, this year’s jury, led by Spike Lee, made an equally historic decision to cap off a bumper year. Awarding the top prize, the Palme d’Or, to the French filmmaker Julia Ducournau for the psychosexual noir thriller Titane, it served as the final award announced in a delightfully chaotic closing ceremony that saw Lee accidentally announce the winner early. The movie caused something of a stir when it premiered on Tuesday, being described by the BBC as “the most shocking film of 2021” for its shocking depictions of sex, violence, and Cronenbergian body horror. Despite telling an oddball tale of a serial killer with a sexual attraction to cars, many praised the film’s incisive take on maternity, chosen family, and gender fluidity.

The decision also marks only the second time a female director has ever been awarded the top gong at Cannes. (The first was New Zealand writer-director Jane Campion for her exquisite period drama The Piano in 1993.) Given the festival’s history of controversy around the representation of women on their juries and in the prizes doled out by said jury—plus, a series of memorable stirs around their previous insistence that women wear heels on the red carpet—this year’s board of film luminaries overseeing the prizes is also the first-ever to have a majority of women, as well as the first to be led by a Black jury president. The world is watching Cannes closely this year—but if the increase in representation is anything to go by, for once, that seems to be entirely a good thing.

Julia Ducournau attends the Titane photo call on Wednesday at Cannes Film Festival.

Source: Vogue.com