Watch This Stirring Clip From Cannes Palme D’or Winner ‘I, Daniel Blake’
Perhaps a testament to an era of singularly great filmmaking, three exalted veteran directors stole most of the conversation at this year’s Cannes Film Festival—with the announcement coming yesterday that Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake, had won the coveted Palme D’or.
Indeed, Woody Allen’s Café Society had opened the festivities on May 11, with French comedian and Master of Ceremonies Laurent Lafitte delivering the shockingly questionable, Roman Polanksi referencing joke, “It’s very nice that you’ve been shooting so many movies in Europe, even if you are not being convicted for rape in the U.S.” The director seemed to take it in stride, but it set off a media and celebrity firestorm.
Then Paul Verhoeven’s Elle, starring Isabelle Huppert as a rape victim that sets out for revenge, ignited the media’s most fervent socio-cultural conversation around Cannes. Of course, he had caused a similar stir in 1992 with the highly controversial Basic Instinct.
But Loach took the top prize this year for his heartbreaking new neorealist film. His second Palme D’or (including 2006’s The Wind That Shakes The Barley), it tells the story of ailing and unable to work carpenter Daniel Blake (played by Dave Johns), who faces the loss of all his benefits. He befriends single mother Kattie (Hayley Squires), and they together fight for dignity and survival.
Of course, in these times of worsening inequality, there’s a strong ideological undercurrent to the film—even if it’s not foot-on-the-barricades political.
And to be sure, during his acceptance speech, Loach cautioned, “The world we live in is at a dangerous point right now. We are in the grip of a dangerous project of austerity, driven by ideas that we call neo-liberalism, that have brought us to near catastrophe.”
Watch the I, Daniel Blake festival teaser trailer, here: