In a second win for the British director Ken Loach, his I, Daniel Blake has picked up the Palme d’or, the most prestigious award at the Cannes Film Festival. The film follows a widowed Manchester carpenter who must turn to welfare assistance when he develops heart disease. In the halls of the restrictive assistance office, he meets a young woman and her children, who are struggling to survive in the system.
Loach had previously won the award with his 2006 The Wind that Shakes the Barley. He joins a list of filmmakers including Michael Haneke, Francis Ford Coppola, Emir Kusturica, Bille August, Shohei Imamura, Alf Sjoberg and Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, who have all won the coveted award more than once. Despite his prominent career, Loach’s films have often presented an auteurist alternative to big Hollywood filmmaking, and I, Daniel Blake, with its modest setting and understated style, is set to be no exception.
Other festival highlights included an honorary Palme d’or for Jean-Pierre Léaud, who began his career as a child in François Truffaut’s 1959 Les 400 Coups. Léaud accepted his award to a standing ovation. The Grand Prix went to French-Canadian director Xavier Dolan, who had previously won the jury prize for 2014’s Mommy, for his film It’s Only the End of the World.
This post originally appeared on the film blog, NNMNC Films.