The ceremony began with Midnight in Paris, which was directed by Woody Allen. The Beloved was shown as a close to the ceremony. Both the opening and the closing ceremonies were hosted by Melanie Laurent.
Honorable Mention Events at the Film Festival
At the festivals opening ceremony the Honorary Palme d’Or Award was presented to Bernardo Bertolucci, who is an Italian film director. Two Iranian film directors, Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof who are in jail, were given an honorable mention at the festival. Panahi’s film, This Is Not a Film, was screened during the festival and was given the Carrosse d’Or. Rasoulof’s film, Goodbye, was also screened at the film festival. In the main competition there were four female directors: Julia Leigh who is from Australia, Naomi Kawase who is from Japan, Lynne Ramsey who is a director in Scotland, and Maiwenn Le Besco who is from France.
Lars von Trier, who is a Danish film director, created a lot of controversy at the festival with the comments he made in regards to his film Melancholia. He was making jokes about the Jews and the Nazis when he was asked about his own German heritage and the relation that it played with the German Romanticism in the film. He claimed to have an understanding of who Adolf Hitler is and has long valued the importance of the work that the architect Albert Speer has done; he even stated that he was a Nazi during the press conference. An official apology was issued by the Cannes Film Festival for the comments that were made by Lars von Trier. They also had to clarify that Trier is indeed not a Nazi or an antisemite. Then, the film festival had to declare Trier “persona non grata” on the following day. Once all of the chaos was done and behind them the film festival was able to continue as planned and the film was allowed to remain in the competition.
Winner of the Palme d’Or
Tree of Life was ultimately chosen as the winner of the Palme d’Or. The film was directed by Terrence Malick. Bill Pohlad and Sarah Green, who are two of the producers in this film, were the ones who were chosen to accept the prize for Malick. There has not been an American film to win the Palme d’Or since Fahrenheit 9/11 won the award in 2004. Even though Robert De Niro said it was hard to choose a winner, he felt The Tree of Life was the best possible choice for the award. When asked why De Niro chose the film he explained that it was largely in part because of its size, importance, and intentions, and that is what seemed fitting to be awarded the prize.