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Cannes Film Festival: Sofia Coppola becomes second woman to win best director

31 May 2017

The only other woman to be named "Best Director" in the festival's 70-year history was Soviet director Yuliya Solntseva, who won for The Chronicle of Flaming Years 56 years earlier. Directed by Ruben Ostlund, the movie had not been a critical favourite, but critics do not bestow the Palme d'Or, the festival's highest award.

In "The Square", Claes Bang plays a museum director whose manicured life begins to unravel after a series of events that upset his, and the museum's, calm equilibrium.

The award for the Best Screenplay was shared by Scottish director Lynne Ramsay for "You Were Not Really Here" and Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos for "The Killing of a Sacred Deer".

Toni Erdmann director Maren Ade, who also sat on the jury, agreed more female directors were needed, adding: "We're missing a lot of stories they might tell".

Jury member Smith made the best of the situation, pretending to be Kidman.

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Jury president Pedro Almodovar said as he announced the selection on Sunday night, "We have our first surprise".

"It was quite disturbing, to be honest", she remarked.

At 140 minutes, the art world satire pokes holes in the concepts of creative liberty, free speech and gender roles, and features Elisabeth Moss and Dominic West in small roles the peel back the self-importance of the art set.

The American actor stepped on stage to receive the best actor prize in Converse sneakers. Although, he has two Palme d'Or Awards under his belt.

"I can not accept this award without thinking of everyone who has been touched by an act of terrorism. you have not been forgotten", said a visibly moved Kruger.

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Diane Kruger took the principal Best Actress prize for the German drama In The Fade.

The film, a savagely amusing takedown of political correctness and the things we choose to hang in art galleries, had premiered to strong reviews - but even director Ruben Ostlund was shocked as he picked up the award, shouting, "Oh my God, oh my God!"

Will Smith brought plenty of laughs to the Cannes Film Festival.

The Square's victory somewhat upset the formbook, as much attention appeared to be focussing on Andrei Zvyagintsev's eerie fable Loveless, about a woman searching for her husband who lost in the Russian prison system, and Robin Campillo's 120 Beats per Minute, about the French arm of the Aids-activist Act-Up movement.

That could bode ill for Bong Joon-ho's "Okja" and Noah Baumbach's "The Meyerowitz Stories", the first Netflix releases ever selected to be in competition for the Palme d'Or.

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Cannes Film Festival: Sofia Coppola becomes second woman to win best director