Cannes Film Festival: Sofia Coppola becomes second woman to win best director

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Two-time Academy Award nominee Jessica Chastain, looking fabulous in a white dress with red patterning on the front, said she and other members of the jury led by Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar wrestled Sunday with "a very hard choice". The festival's most esteemed award, the Palme d'Or, hasn't been accepted by a woman since 1993, when Jane Campion won for her work on The Piano.

"The Square", a Swedish movie about the curator of a museum filled with grotesquely pretentious conceptual art, beat stiff competition to win the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival on Sunday. Coppola became the second woman in history to win Best Director at Cannes, for her film, "The Beguiled".

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On May 28, Sofia Coppola won the Best Director prize for her film The Beguiled at the Cannes Film Festival in France. The last woman to win was Yuliya Solntseva, who won with her film, Chronicle of Flaming Years, which told a story of resistance to the Nazi movement in the Soviet Union.

Other winners included Best Actress Diane Kruger for In the Fade, Best Actor Joaquin Phoenix for You Were Never Really Here, Jury Prize victor Andrey Svyagintsev's Loveless, and Grand Prix victor Robin Campillo's BPM (Beats Per Minute).

Hailed as a "powerhouse performance" by Variety magazine, Kruger said the role had taken a huge emotional toll. Kruger plays a woman seeking revenge for her husband's death in a terrorist bombing.

"This is a very democratic jury and I am the ninth part of this jury", he said and fought back tears as he talked of the film's portrayal of "real heroes that saved many lives". "Please know that you are not forgotten". Phoenix was recognized for his role in Lynne Ramsay's thriller "You Were Never Really Here", in which he played a tormented war veteran trying to save a teenage girl from a sex trafficking ring. He said his leather shoes had been flown ahead of him.

Robin Campillo's 120 Beats Per Minute, a French film about AIDS activists in the 1990s, won the grand prize (effectively second place). Coppola previously competed for the Palme d'Or in 2006, but lost out to Ken Loach for The Wind That Shakes the Barley.

But he appeared emotional when discussing how much he had loved Grand Prix victor BPM, which tells the story of activist group Act Up and the lack of government support for Aids sufferers in the 1990s. Its slate of films in 2017, tended to reckon with the gloomy state of the world at large.

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Vanity Fair called the film "a vital new gay classic". She said: "Thank you to my father, who taught me about writing and directing and for sharing his love of cinema, and to my mother for encouraging me to be an artist".

Kidman, who also stars alongside Farrell in The Killing Of A Sacred Deer, was awarded a special prize, the jury's 70th Anniversary Award. Additionally, The Beguiled star Nicole Kidman took home the 70th Anniversary Award.

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