Whilst Carol, the Todd Haynes-directed drama starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, arguably gained the most publicity at Cannes, the film only won one award, with actress Mara sharing the award for Best Actress with Emmanuelle Bercot for Mon Roi. Carol was one of two American films competing at the festival, with the other outing, Gus Van Sant‘s The Sea of Trees, starring Naomi Watts and Matthew McConaughey, recieving negative reviews, even eliciting booing from the audience at the premiere screening. Other Hollywood films, screened out of competition at the festival, included Mad Max: Fury Road and Pixar’s latest outing Inside Out, and both of those films screened to excellent reviews.
The winner of the prestigious Palme D’Or prize was drama Dheepan, directed by Jacques Audiard (pictured above), a drama surrounding the Sri Lankan civil war and one man’s attempt to escape its violence and horror. WWII drama Son of Saul won the Grand Prix prize, while the Best Director prize went to Hou Hsiao-hsien for his historical Chinese thriller The Assassin and Best Actor went to Vincent Lindon for The Measure of a Man.
Other films that gathered buzz were Italian fairy tale The Tale of Tales, which stars an array of Hollywood’s finest, including Salma Hayek, John C Reilly and Vincent Cassel and is directed by Matteo Garrone; winner of the Jury Prize The Lobster, a fantasy love story starring Colin Farrell and Rachel Wiesz; and a film which wasn’t screened at the festival, but did have one of its stars on the jury: Jake Gyllenhaal and his film Southpaw, whose producer Harvey Weinstein is already pushing for an Oscar nomination for its star.
Cannes was marred this year by two dominant criticisms: that of the high heel policy and the marketing of Carol as a ‘lesbian’ drama, rather than just a ‘drama’ or a ‘relationship drama’. At the premiere of Carol, some female audience members were turned away from the screening for not wearing high heeled shoes. “We apologise,” was the comment from Cannes director Thierry Fremaux, and the decision was lambasted by celebrities, audience members, and social commentators alike.
Meanwhile, headlines lauded Cate Blanchett’s drama Carol as a ‘lesbian’ drama and a ‘lesbian’ film: something that drew criticism from many in the media, including SBS contributor Rebecca Shaw. “And when the time comes, I will go to the cinema, I will buy popcorn, I will eat it, and I will watch the movie Carol,” said Ms Shaw. “I won’t lesbian-go-to-the-cinema, lesbian-buy-popcorn, lesbian-eat-it, and lesbian-watch the lesbian movie Carol.”
Nevertheless, Carol has emerged as one of the winners of Cannes 2015, and no doubt we’ll be hearing more about it as awards season rolls around; however, if Cannes’ awards are anything to go by, we may not be seeing Blanchett up on stage, but her co-star, the exceptionally talented Rooney Mara.
The full list of winners can be found here.