Cannes: 'I, Daniel Blake' Wins the Palme d'Or

I, Daniel Blake - H 2016
Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

The best director prize was awarded to both Cristian Mungiu for 'Graduation' and Olivier Assayas for 'Personal Shopper.'

The 69th annual Cannes Film Festival came to a close Sunday night with the main competition awards ceremony at the Palais des Festivals.

Ken Loach's I, Daniel Blake won the top prize, the Palme d'Or, which was presented by Mel Gibson. The pic follows two people caught in an uncaring welfare system.

The British filmmaker, who previously won the Palme d'Or for The Wind That Shakes the Barley, gave a passionate speech about the state of the economy and social and political systems while accepting his award.

"The world is at a dangerous point, with 'austerity' driven by the ideals of neo-liberalism that have brought us to near-catastrophe, that have brought hardship to many in Greece in the East and Portugal and Spain in the West and grotesque wealth to a few," he said. "There is the danger of despair that people from the far right take advantage. Some of us who are old remember what that was like. So we must say something else is possible, another world is possible and necessary."

Twenty-one films competed in the main competition, which has been screening the movies over the past week and a half.

Xavier Dolan’s It’s Only the End of the World won the Grand Prix prize. Dolan's film, starring Marion Cotillard, Lea Seydoux and Vincent Cassel, centers on a young man who returns home to tell his family he's dying.

The jury prize was given to Andrea Arnold for American Honey. Sasha Lane stars alongside Shia LaBeouf and Riley Keough in Arnold's first U.S. feature about a teen runaway who takes up with a traveling youth crew.

Two filmmakers were given the honor of best director: Cristian Mungiu for Graduation and Olivier Assayas for Personal Shopper.

Graduation centers on an overbearing dad determined to get his daughter into a British university at any price. Mungiu won the Palme d'Or for 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days in 2007.

Assayas' Personal Shopper stars Kristen Stewart as a woman who is a medium and searching for her dead twin brother.

Jaclyn Jose, the star of Filipino auteur Brillante Mendoza's Ma' Rosa, took home best actress honors.

The best actor prize was awarded to Shahab Hosseini, the star of Asghar Farhadi’s The Salesman. He previously starred in A Separation, also directed by Farhadi.

Farhadi’s The Salesman also won the award for best screenplay.

The Camera d’Or, which honors the best first feature film, was awarded to Divines, a movie by Houda Benyamina that premiered in Directors’ Fortnight. Willem Dafoe presented the award.

Timecode, directed by Juanjo Gimenez, won the short film award, while The Girl Who Danced With the Devil, helmed by Joao Paulo Miranda Maria, received a special distinction.

The honorary Palme d’Or was given to Jean-Pierre Leaud, the French actor who starred in François Truffaut's series of films that began with 1959’s The 400 Blows.

The jury included president George Miller, Kirsten Dunst, Mads Mikkelsen, Vanessa Paradis and Donald Sutherland.