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Cannes Awards for Ken Loach & Andrea Arnold

  • I, Daniel Blake

Palme d'Or winner I, Daniel Blake

May 2016

British films triumphed in Cannes, as Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake was awarded the Palme d’Or and Andrea Arnold’s American Honey won the Jury prize.

This marks Loach’s second Palme d’Or win, after 2006’s The Wind That Shakes The Barley. It is the third British Palme in 20 years, also including Mike Leigh’s Secrets & Lies in 1996.

Loach, 79, came out of planned retirement to tell the story of an older carpenter and younger single mother in Newcastle who both struggle with the government's benefits system.

“When there is despair, the people from the far right take advantage,” said Loach during his acceptance speech. “We must say that another world is possible and necessary.”

In Variety’s review, Owen Gleiberman wrote, “I, Daniel Blake is one of Loach’s finest films, a drama of tender devastation that tells its story with an unblinking neorealist simplicity that goes right back to the plainspoken purity of Vittorio De Sica.”

Arnold’s fourth feature American Honey is set on the road in the American Midwest, following a group of teenagers selling magazines door to door by day and partying by night. Impressive newcomer Sasha Lane stars alongside Shia LaBeouf and Riley Keough.

Writing in Indiewire, Eric Kohn wrote, “It's the closest thing to a magnum opus in Arnold's blossoming career… It's a magisterial achievement that builds on her previous accomplishments while stretching beyond the constraints of their cleaner narratives.”

In the Cinefondation shorts competition, Hamid Ahmadi from the London Film School won second prize with In The Hills.

British Council's Cannes catalogue of British films at the festival and coming later this year can be downloaded here.