Palme d’or to Anatomy of a fall: what is this French film awarded by Cannes 2023?

2 years after Titane, a new Palme d’Or for a French director! Justine Triet succeeds Julia Ducournau with Anatomy of a Fall. She is therefore the 3rd director in history to win the supreme award. Focus on the movie.

What is it about ?

Anatomy of a fall combines drama, investigation and trial film. We follow Sandra, Samuel and their visually impaired 11-year-old son, Daniel, living far from everything, in the mountains. One day, Samuel is found dead at the foot of their house. A suspicious death investigation has been opened. Sandra is soon charged despite the doubt: suicide or homicide? A year later, Daniel attends his mother’s trial, a true dissection of the couple…

What there is to know

This is the 4th feature film by French director Justine Triet, after La Bataille de Solférino (2013), Victoria (2016) and Sibyl (2019). The latter had already been selected in competition at Cannes, but left empty-handed from the prize list.

After Victoria and Sibyl, both led by Virginie Efira, Justine Triet chose Sandra Hüller, very noticed at Cannes, as her lead actress in the film Toni Erdmann in 2016. Sandra Hüller has the particularity of being in two award-winning films this year, Anatomy of a Fall, and The Zone of Interest by Jonathan Glazer, Grand Prix.

In the cast, we also find Swann Arlaud, the young Milo Machado Graner, Antoine Reinartz, Samuel Theis, and Jehnny Beth.

The screenplay is co-written by Justine Triet and Arthur Harari. The film is co-produced by Les Films de Pierre (Marie-Ange Luciani, already producer of 120 beats per minute), and Les Films Pelléas (David Thion and Philippe Martin).

Anatomy of a Fall is the 10th French Palme d’Or. Moreover, this is the first time that the same film has won Palme d’or and Palme dog!


Why is the film appealing?

It is a film of fascinating density and complexity. Anatomy of a Fall is based on a very rich scenario, mixing genres, and which never goes where it is expected. It is both the drama of a couple whose fall is told in the feature film, but also and above all a thriller and a trial film. For the anecdote, Justine Triet initially thought it might be a series, and her producers encouraged her to make a film of it.

It includes striking scenes and real ideas of cinema, especially in its relationship to sound. After the movie, you’ll never be able to listen to Dr Dre’s PIMP the same way again! A sound sequence during the trial is also a striking tipping point.

With this plot set against a backdrop of marital drama, Anatomy of a Fall also resonates strongly with recent judicial news. We think at times of the Heard – Depp trial, a trial that was held while Justine Triet was shooting her film.

First enthusiastic feedback on the film

As we relayed the day after the official screening of the film in competition at Cannes, the first critical feedback was all very enthusiastic.

Discover a selection of tweets with the first opinions viewers and critics:

A speech committed during the ceremony…

During the closing ceremony of the Cannes Film Festival which was held this evening, director Justine Triet took the microphone to talk about social news in France.

Justine Triet indicated that she could not “just mention [sa] joy“.”This year, the country has been crossed by a historic, extremely powerful, unanimous challenge to pension reform. This challenge was denied, and shockingly suppressed. And this pattern of increasingly uninhibited dominating power breaks out in several areas: socially, but also in all other spheres of society, and cinema is no exception.

And to add:The commodification of culture that the neo-liberal government defends is in the process of breaking the French cultural exception. This prize, I dedicate it to all the young directors, to all the young directors, and even to those who today cannot manage to film.

A political speech that did not please the Minister of Culture.

The rest of his speech was addressed to future filmmakers. “This prize, I dedicate it to all the young directors and to all the young directors, and even to those who today cannot shoot. We have to make room for them. This place that I took fifteen years ago in a slightly less hostile world [où il était] still possible to make a mistake and start over.

… and already when climbing the steps of the film

When climbing the stairs, Swann Arlaud and Justine Triet wore a badge “Under the screens the waste” on their jackets, echoing a column on precarious workers, published recently in Release. It reads in the preamble:The workers of these major cultural events chain contracts without any job security. However, without them, and without the many interns and volunteers, the very existence of film festivals would be threatened. It is urgent to find a new model, according to these professionals.

Anatomy of a fall by Justine Triet will be released on August 23, 2023.

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