British director Ken Loach wins his second Palme d’Or at Cannes

23rd May, 2016
British director Ken Loach was yesterday awarded the second Palme d’Or of his career – the much-coveted top prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

The Cannes Film Festival is perhaps one of the world’s most important festivals, attracting a wealth of stars and showcasing a number of major and independent films from around the world, both in and out of competition, with many making their premiere here.

After winning his first Palme d’Or (best picture award) in 2006 for The Wind That Shakes The Barley, Loach enjoyed another victory this year with his newest picture I, Daniel Blake. The film centres on a middle-aged widower and his relationship with the UK welfare system after suffering from a heart attack. It stars stand-up comedian Dave Johns in the title role, in what is his first film role. Written by long-time collaborator Paul Laverty, the film was shot by Irish cinematographer Robbie Ryan, who also shot the film winning the Jury Prize, American Honey. 

Upon receiving his award from actor Mel Gibson, Loach, who previously directed films such as Kes, said about his film: “We must give a message of hope, we must say another world is possible.” In a press conference after the ceremony, he told journalists he was “quietly stunned” to win the award, working with largely the same team he worked with on his first win in 2006.

The actors’ depictions of the characters were praised by the judges, who said the characters “find themselves in no-man's land, caught on the barbed wire of welfare bureaucracy as played out against the rhetoric of 'striver and skiver' in modern day Britain". Among the other directors in contention for the award were Paul Verhoeven, Sean Penn and Spanish Oscar-winner Pedro Almodovar.

There was also another British success story with the competition’s Jury Prize for Kent-born director Andrea Arnold and her film American Honey. Starring Shia LaBeouf, the film follows a group of youths who travel through the US states selling magazine subscriptions and hard luck stories. Among the jury who helped to decide on the winner was Kirsten Dunst, Vanessa Paradis, Mads Mikkelsen, Donald Sutherland and George Miller, who was the jury’s president. 

One film also picked up two awards on the night: Forushande (The Salesman), an Iranian film by Asghar Farhadi. It picked up the best screenplay award as well as the best actor award, won by Shahab Hosseini. Philippine soap star Jaclyn Jose also made history as the first Philippine to win an acting award at Cannes, winning the best actress award for her role in Ma’ Rosa by Brillante Mendoza. Another prestigious prize, the Grand Prix, was awarded to Juste la Fin du Monde (It’s Just the End of the World), by Canadian director Xavier Dolan.

Commenting on the success of I, Daniel Blake and American Honey, Ben Roberts, director of the BFI Film Fund, said: "What a moment for British cinema, and for two important and humane films with so much to say.

"Bravo to Ken and to Andrea and their collaborators - including the unstoppable Robbie Ryan who shot both films."

If you’re looking to enjoy the glitz and glamour of this French Riviera city, or book ahead for next year’s festival then visit our website to browse our selection of Cannes villas.

Image: FDC/Philippe Savoir (Filifox)