Palme winner leads Cannes in ‘scream of happiness’

Cannes: Ruben Ostlund on Sunday led the Cannes Film Festival gala audience in “a scream of happiness” after he became the first Swedish director to win the coveted Palme d’Or for best film,since the prize was introduced in 1955.
“I can direct you now, after all, I won the Palme d’Or,” the 43-year-old Ostlund said after the surprise win for his film, “The Square,” a sprawling satire about bourgeois life, which sends up political correctness.
The story of the film centres on a contemporary museum curator -played by Danish actor Claes Bang – whose plans to mount a new exhibition run into trouble just as his private life spins off course.
“Contemporary art is like any other area. It can be good and bad,” Ostlund told a press conference. “When you scratch the surface youfind out what is under the surface,” he said.
“The Square” was one of 19 films competing this year for the Palmed ‘Or, which was encrusted with 167 diamonds to mark the 70thanniversary of the world’s leading film festival.
Ostlund, who launched his film-making career some 13 years ago,gained international prominence three years back with his hit drama”Force Majeure.”
While Swedish filmmakers have won earlier versions of Cannes’ top prize, a Swedish director has not won the Palme d’Or since its 1955 introduction.
Headed up by Academy Award-winning Spanish director Pablo Almodovar, this year’s nine-member jury awarded the Grand Prix to French director and former Aids activist Robin Campillo for humane and moving “BPM (Beats per Minute)” about the Aids crisis in the early1990s’.
The Grand Prix is the festival’s second prize, after the Palme d’Or.
“I did live some of the scenes myself,” said Campillo recalling at a press conference how he had dressed the body of one friend who had fallen victim to the disease.
Cannes’ third prize, the jury prize, went to Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev for his film, “Loveless,” about the greed and the self-absorption of Russia’s middle class.
The movie is a dark and intense story about a 12-year-old boy whoproves to be an inconvenience for his parents during their acrimonious divorce. That is, until he disappears.
A one-time struggling actor forced to clean and shovel snow,Moscow-based Zvyagintsev’s powerful indictment of ordinary people’s struggle against a corrupt modern Russian state, “Leviathan,” won Cannes’ best screenwriter award three years ago.
Meanwhile, Hollywood’s Sofia Coppola became the second woman in Cannes history to win the best director award, for her American civil war melodrama, “The Beguiled”, starring Kidman and Farrell. — dpa