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Cannes 2017

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Swedish satire 'The Square' wins top prize at Cannes 2017

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Director Ruben Ostlund , Palme d'Or award winner for his film 'The Square', reacts. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Swedish satire "The Square", a send-up of political correctness and the confused identity of the modern male, won the Palme d'Or top prize at the Cannes film festival Sunday.


The nine-member jury led by Spanish director Pedro Almodovar and including French actress Agnès Jaoui and Lebanese film-music composer Gabriel Yared, as well as Chinese actress Fan Bing and Hollywood stars Jessica Chastain and Will Smith awarded the trophy to the movie's director, Ruben Ostlund.

"Oh my God, oh my God!" Ostlund shouted from the stage as Jury Chair Pedro Almodovar announced the winner..

In a 70th anniversary edition marked by raging debate over sexism in the movie industry, Sofia Coppola became only the second woman in history to win best director for her battle-of-the-sexes thriller, The Beguiled, with Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Kirsten Dunst and Elle Fanning.

Kidman, who appeared in four different projects at the festival, accepted a special 70th anniversary award, although she wasn't there in person which gave US comic Will Smith the chance to pretend to imitate her on stage, which tickled the audience in the Festival largest and most plush hall.

Diane Kruger clinched best actress for her first film role in her native German language. She played a devastated mother who has lost her family in a Hamburg terror attack, committed by neo-Nazis, in Fatih Akin's In the Fade.

"I cannot accept this award without thinking of everyone who has been touched by an act of terrorism... you have not been forgotten," the clearly moved actress said.

Three-time Oscar nominee Joaquin Phoenix nabbed best actor for his turn as a hammer-wielding hitman in the ultraviolent thriller You Were Never Really Here.

"Any work that I did was linked to the work of Lynne Ramsay," the film's British director, Phoenix said, before apologising for wearing trainers to the gala ceremony.

"I don't wear leather," the committed vegetarian explained.

'So much courage'

Greece's Yorgos Lantimos shared the best screenplay award with Ramsay for The Killing of a Sacred Deer, an edgy off-beat thriller set in a wealthy American suburb and starring Kidman and Farrell as a married couple.

The runner-up Grand Prix went to moving French drama 120 Beats Per Minute about the radical activists who helped shame the world into action on AIDS.

"This film is an homage to those who died but also those who survived and are still alive, who had so much courage," said the movie's director, former ACT UP member Robin Campillo.

Campillo also wrote the screenplay for "The Class", a drama about a multicultural Paris high school that scooped the Palme d'Or in 2008 as well as an Oscar nomination for best foerign film.

Loveless by Andrey Zvyagintsev, a wrenching drama where a child disappearrs  traumatized by his parents' violent separation, can be seen as an allegory  about moral rot eating away at Russian society under Vladimir Putin, took the third place Jury Prize.

Magic of big screen

The Square, is an often hilarious art world satire exploring creative liberty, free speech and the blurred lines between the sexes.

Danish actor Claes Bang plays a museum director and divorced father of two young daughters who finds himself in increasingly absurd circumstances.

It heartily lampoons the self-important art world.

One scene which takes place in a royal palace reception room features a wild, bare-chested man performing as an ape wreaking havoc at a posh gala dinner. It entered festival legend.

The jury's job is never an easy one, but they have to reach a consensus, and the role of the chair, is decisive. This year, the Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, opted for the challenge. Almodovar who champions LGBT causes, almost broke down when he talked about 120 Beats Per Minute, describing the characters in the film as "heros". After the awards ceremonyj Jury member US actor WIll Smith made no bones about rooting alone for Jupiter's Moon by Kornel Mundruzco, to demonstrate how the awards are as impartial as possible.

The Golden Camera, Caméra d'Or, the prize for a first feature, went to French director Léonor Serraille for her Jeune Femme, also known as Montparnasse Bienvenue. a Qiu Yang, a young Chinese director, something rare at Cannes this year, won the short film award for A Gentle Night.

Cannes' 12 days of screenings and celebrity-packed soirees -- which were somewhat muted by the Manchester bombing -- were marked by unprecedented anti-terror measures and a raging row over how technology is shaping the future of the movie industry.

Netflix had two movies in competition for the first time but faced blowback from critics who argue that online streaming is destroying cinema distribution and with it the magic of the big-screen experience. At the same time, appaluse came fromsome quarters of the French film industry such as the independent director's circuit association ARP, who consider Cannes did well to force the issue into the arena and, without going as far as Netflix would like, still make some changes to make film distribution laws more liberal.