Cannes Film Fest 2015: Dheepan by Jacques Audiard Wins Palme d’Or

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French auteur Jacques Audiard’s “Dheepan,” an intimately observed, mostly Tamil-language drama about a makeshift family of Sri Lankan refugees in Paris, was the unexpected winner of the Palme d’Or at the 68th annual Cannes Film Fest.

 

“Thank you, Michael Haneke, for not making a film this year,” Audiard said as he accepted his Palme, a reference to the fact that the Austrian helmer of “The White Ribbon” and “Amour” had beaten him for the Palme his last two times in competition, with 2009’s “A Prophet,” which won the Grand Prix and 2012’s “Rust and Bone,” which also divided critics. 

Audiard appeared onstage with his lead actors, Antonythasan Jesuthasan and Kalieaswari Srinivasan, both of whom made their screen debuts in “Dheepan.”

The award was greeted with surprise and mixture of boos, shrugs and applause from the international press corps watching the ceremony at the Palais.

“Dheepan,” which is being released by IFC/Sundance Selects, had drawn respectable but largely tepid reviews after its premiere. The reactions were considerably less enthusiastic than they were for “A Prophet” and “Rust and Bone.”

But jury co-presidents Joel and Ethan Coen noted their “enthusiasm” for the film at a press conference following the ceremony. “We all thought it was a beautiful movie,” Ethan Coen said. To which Joel Coen added, “This isn’t a jury of film critics. This is a jury of artists looking at the work.”