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Sofia Coppola wins best director at Cannes film festival

Sofia Coppola scooped best director at the Cannes film festival on Sunday night for her star-studded remake of “The Beguiled”

Among others she thanked her father, the “Apocalypse Now” director Francis Ford Coppola, who she said “taught me writing and directing”.

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Swedish satire ‘The Square’ is surprise Cannes winner

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.

In a stunning upset, the nine-member jury led by Spanish director Pedro Almodovar and including 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 after besting a raft of favourites for one of global cinema’s most coveted honours.

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 and Colin Farrell.

Kidman, who appeared in four different projects at the festival, accepted a special 70th anniversary award from the jury.

Diane Kruger clinched best actress for her first film role in her native German as a devastated mother who has lost her family in a Hamburg terror attack, 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 his tuxedo-and-trainers look at the gala ceremony.

“I don’t wear leather,” the committed vegetarian explained.

Greece’s Yorgos Lantimos shared the best screenplay award with Ramsay for “The Killing of a Sacred Deer”, an icy thriller set in a wealthy American suburb and starring Kidman and Farrell.

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.

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