Ken Loach claims second Palme D'Or for film denouncing 'cruelty' of poverty

Ken Loach claims second Palme D'Or for film denouncing 'cruelty' of poverty

Veteran British director Ken Loach has won his second Palme D'Or at the Cannes Film Festival on Sunday for I, Daniel Blake - a stark and polemical portrayal of a disabled man's struggle with the benefits system in northern England.

The 79-year-old was presented the festival's top prize by actor Mel Gibson at a ceremony on the French Riviera. Accepting the award, the silver-haired Loach punched his fists in the air in victory and said that he hoped his social realist film would give out a message of hope.

I, Daniel Blake is a warm and realistic drama about a middle-aged widower who, after a heart attack, can neither work nor get government money. It follows the sometimes comic, frequently painful frustrations as he winds his way through an archaic system that seems designed to bring him down.

Loach has long brought his distinct portrayals of the British working class to Cannes. He has had 12 films in competition at the festival over the years, including his Palme D'Or-winning The Wind That Shakes The Barley. He is more a regular at Cannes than almost any filmmaker.

Like many of Loach's films, social politics is at the heart of I, Daniel Blake.

"There is a conscious cruelty in the way that we are organising our lives now, where the most vulnerable people are told that their poverty is their own fault," Loach told reporters earlier in the festival.

"If you have no work it's your fault you haven't got a job. Never mind in Britain, there is mass unemployment throughout Europe."

Canadian director Xavier Dolan picked up the runner-up Grand Prize, which has been seen by some critics as a vindication for him personally after his film It's Only The End Of The World garnered lukewarm reviews and triggered a spat between him and certain film critics.

The 27-year-old won the jury prize in 2014 for Mommy.

The jury of the 69th Cannes Film Festival was headed by Australian director George Miller who described the jury's selection as "two words: rigorous and happy".

The Cannes jury's decisions are famously unpredictable, and take place behind doors closed to the press for the duration of the May 11-22 festival.

Despite mixed reviews, director Asghar Farhadi's film The Salesman picked up several awards including best screenplay and best actor for Shahab Hosseini.

Romanian director Cristian Mungui, who was a favourite to win the Palme D'Or for Graduation, won the best director award, which he shared with French director Olivier Assayas for his paranormal thriller Personal Shopper, starring former Twilight star Kristen Stewart.

More on this topic

All of the most opulent and OTT gowns from the Cannes Film FestivalAll of the most opulent and OTT gowns from the Cannes Film Festival

Asia Argento slams Harvey Weinstein at Cannes Festival closing ceremonyAsia Argento slams Harvey Weinstein at Cannes Festival closing ceremony

Who won the Palme d’Or and other prizes at the Cannes Film Festival?Who won the Palme d’Or and other prizes at the Cannes Film Festival?

Kenya bans first Cannes-bound feature film over 'lesbianism'Kenya bans first Cannes-bound feature film over 'lesbianism'

More in this Section

Stormzy receives first Greggs ‘black card’ handing him free baked goods for lifeStormzy receives first Greggs ‘black card’ handing him free baked goods for life

Julie Walters reveals bowel cancer diagnosisJulie Walters reveals bowel cancer diagnosis

Lana Del Rey cancels UK and European tour over ‘surprise’ illnessLana Del Rey cancels UK and European tour over ‘surprise’ illness

Billie Eilish reveals her pick for the next James BondBillie Eilish reveals her pick for the next James Bond


Lifestyle

The singer is no stranger to sporting an array of pastel nail polishes.7 times Harry Styles had the perfect manicure

Gareth Cotter-Stone explores the magical city on the west coast of Ireland.Why you should visit Galway, European Capital of Culture 2020

More From The Irish Examiner