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Cannes, May 29 – The prestigious Palm d’Or went to a French director on Saturday night at the Cannes Film Festival, but President Emmanuel Macron was not celebrating because Justine Triet made a fiery political speech that took aim at the French government’s handling of weeks of protests on the streets.
After being introduced on stage by Jane Fonda and thanking her partners on the film and Cannes’ jury, Triet said, according to ‘Variety’, that the country “was rocked by an unprecedented protest movement that was extremely powerful and unanimous against the pensions reform”.
The “protest was denied and suppressed in a shocking manner, and this pattern of increasingly uninhibited dominating power is now at work in several areas; obviously socially is where it is the most shocking, but we also see it in all spheres of society, and the film industry hasn’t been spared”, said Triet, noted ‘Variety’, drawing cheers and a few boos from the captive audience inside the Lumiere Theatre.
She went on to blame the “neo-liberal government” for promoting a “commodification of culture” and “breaking down the French model cultural exception”.
Triet dedicated her prize “to all young female and male directors and to those who today are unable to make films,” adds ‘Variety’. She said: “We must make room for them, and give them the place I took 15 years ago when I started, in a world that was a little less hostile in which it was possible to make mistakes and start over.”
France’s Culture Minister Rima Abdul Malak was first to react, according to ‘Variety’, to Triet’s comments on Twitter, saying she was “flabbergasted by her speech so unfair”.
Abdul Malak continued: “This film wouldn’t have seen the light of day without our French model of film financing which allows for a unique diversity in the world. Let’s not forget it.”