British film director Ken Loach has won the Palme d’Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival for I, Daniel Blake, a drama about a disabled carpenter (Dave Johns) struggling to navigate the bureaucracy of the benefits system after a heart attack leaves him unable to work.
“We must give a message of hope. We must say another world is possible and necessary,’ the 79-year-old director said as he accepted the festival’s highest honour.
“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.”
It’s the second time Loach has won the Palme d’Or, being awarded the prize in 2006 for his war drama The Wind that Shakes the Barley.
Fellow British director Andrea Arnold took home the competition’s Jury Prize for her film American Honey which stars Shia LaBeouf and follows a group travelling through the States selling hard luck stories and magazine subscriptions. Both Loach and Arnold’s films were shot by Irish cinematographer Robbie Ryan.
Fellow winners included Iranian film Forushande (The Salesman) by Asghar Farhadi which scooped best screenplay and best actor (won by Shahab Hosseini) while Jaclyn Jose was named best actress for her role in Brillante Mendoza’s Ma’ Rosa, and the Grand Prix went to Juste la Fin du Monde (It’s Just the End of the World).