Believe the hype. Gisaengchung (Parasite), the critically lauded drama from Snowpiercer and Okja director Bong Joon-ho, just won the coveted Palme d’or award at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, barring Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood from the top honor.
The competition jury, led by Birdman‘s Alejandro González Iñárritu (a previous Cannes Best Director winner for Babel), announced the award winners on Saturday. Elle Fanning, Maimouna N’Diaye, Kelly Reichardt, Enki Bilal, Alice Rohrwacher, Robin Campillo, Yorgos Lanthimos, and Paweł Pawlikowski (last year’s Cannes Best Director winner for Cold War) also served on the jury.
According to Iñárritu, the decision to give the Palme d’or to Parasite was “unanimous.” Previous winners include Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Shoplifters in 2018, Ruben Östlund’s The Square in 2017, and Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake in 2016.
The film follows Ki-woo, the eldest son of his down-on-their-luck family, who is introduced to the wealthy Park family for a potential well-paid tutoring job. The meeting leads to a collision of both families and an unexpected incident. In a statement from the director, Joon-ho asked critics to refrain from unveiling major spoilers for future audiences.
“For people of different circumstances to live together in the same space is not easy,” he said of Parasite. “It is increasingly the case in this sad world that humane relationships based on co-existence or symbiosis cannot hold, and one group is pushed into a parasitic relationship with another. In the midst of such a world, who can point their finger at a struggling family, locked in a fight for survival, and call them parasites? It’s not that they were parasites from the start. They are our neighbors, friends and colleagues, who have merely been pushed to the edge of a precipice. As a depiction of ordinary people who fall into an unavoidable commotion, this film is: a comedy without clowns, a tragedy without villains, all leading to a violent tangle and a headlong plunge down the stairs. You are all invited to this unstoppably fierce tragicomedy.”
Tarantino’s star-studded new film, meanwhile, didn’t win anything.
Emily Beecham won the Best Actress award for Little Joe, while Antonio Banderas won Best Actor for Pain & Glory. The Young Ahmed co-directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne won Best Director, and Best Screenplay went to Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire.
See the winners below.
Palme d’Or: Gisaengchung (Parasite), Bong Joon-ho
Grand Prix: Atlantique (Atlantics), Mati Diop
Best Director: Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Le Jeune Ahmed (The Young Ahmed)
Jury Prize: Tie between Les Misérables (Ladj Ly) and Bacurau (Kleber Mendonça Filho, Juliano Dornelles)
Best Actor: Antonio Banderas, Dolor y Gloria (Pain & Glory)
Best Actress: Emily Beecham, Little Joe
Best Screenplay: Portrait de la Jeune Fille en Feu (Portrait of a Lady on Fire), Céline Sciamma
Special Mention of the Jury: It Must Be Heaven, Elia Suleiman
Camera d’Or: Nuestras Madres (Our Mothers), César Díaz
Queer Palm (Feature): Portrait de la Jeune Fille en Feu (Portrait of a Lady on Fire), Céline Sciamma
Short Film Palme d’Or: “The Distance Between Us and the Sky,” Vasilis Kekatos
Special Distinction of the Jury: “Monstruo Dios” (“Monster God”), Agustina San
Queer Palm (Short): “The Distance Between Us and the Sky,” Vasilis Kekatos