The 68th Cannes Film Festival was brought to a surprising close yesterday with Jacques Audiard's Sri Lankan refugee drama taking the festival's coveted top honor, the Palme d'Or. The choice of Dheepan, as selected by a jury led by Joel and Ethan Coen, left some critics scratching their heads. While the dapper French filmmaker has drawn widespread acclaim for films such as A Prophet and Rust and Bone, some critics were disappointed by the thriller climax of Audiard's film. Dheepan is about a trio of Sri Lankans who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country and are settled in a violent housing project outside Paris.
"This isn't a jury of film critics," Joel Coen told reporters after the awards ceremony, alongside fellow jurors like Guillermo del Toro and Jake Gyllenhaal. "This is a jury of artists who are looking at the work." "We all thought it was a very beautiful movie," said Ethan Coen, calling the decision "swift." ''Everyone had some high level of excitement and enthusiasm for it." The runner-up prize, the Grand Prix, went to Son of Saul, a grim Holocaust drama by first-time Hungarian director László Nemes. Some expected Nemes' horrifying plunge into the life of an Auschwitz worker to take the top award, but it's been 26 years since a debut film (Steven Soderbergh's Sex, Lies, and Videotape) was given the Palme. Click for the rest of the winners.