Putting a spin on Otto Preminger’s “Anatomy of a Murder,” “Anatomy of a Fall” is something like “Anatomy of a Marriage.” The Hüller character’s husband (Samuel Theis) may have died in an accident, a suicide, or a murder. But when Hüller character, called Sandra, is put on trial for homicide, the case begins to focus on the dynamics of their relationship and their family life.
The Grand Jury Prize, effectively second place, went to Jonathan Glazer’s “The Zone of Interest,” which takes a ruthlessly formalized approach to attempt to imagine how the commandant of Auschwitz, Rudolf Höss (Christian Friedel), and his wife, Hedwig (Hüller again), lived from day to day with a death camp that murdered more than one million in their backyard. Accepting the award, Glazer said he wanted to honor the memory of Martin Amis, who wrote the novel from which the film was loosely adapted, and who died the day it premiered. Glazer also thanked the director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, saying that the film was only possible because of the museum’s support.
The jury prize went to the veteran Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki for the warmly received “Fallen Leaves.” The two lead actors, Alma Pöysti and Jussi Vatanen, accepted the award, and Pöysti read a thank-you from Kaurismaki. “Merci and ‘Twist and Shout’!” she quoted him as saying.
Best Director went to Tran Anh Hung for “The Pot-au-Feu,” an exquisitely made drama the relationship between an epicure (Benoît Magimel) and the cook (Juliette Binoche) who has worked for him in 20 years.
Merve Dizdar won Best Actress for Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s ropey, dialogue-heavy drama “About Dry Grasses.” She plays a teacher who has lost part of a leg to a suicide bombing. Koji Yakusho took Best Actor for his dialogue-lite performance as a bathroom janitor in Tokyo in Wim Wenders’s mood piece “Perfect Days.”
The screenplay prize went to Sakamoto Yuji for “Monster,” directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda, who frequently writes his own
The Camera d’Or, the award for best first feature, went to Thien An Pham’s three-hour “Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell,” set in Vietnam and shown in the parallel festival Directors’ Fortnight.
At the awards ceremony, Quentin Tarantino, who was at Directors’ Fortnight for a talk on Thursday, paid tribute to the exploitation maestro Roger Corman, who took the stage and joked that he made it to Cannes at last.