The Piano Lesson: What makes the film’s Palme d’Or unique?

Clement cuyer

Clement Cuyer


Clément Cuyer appreciates all genres, from good hard-hitting horror films to schoolboy comedy. He is an “old man” of AlloCiné, journalist in the editorial staff for more than two passionate decades. “Too old for this bullshit”? Oh never!

The feature film “The Piano Lesson”, broadcast this Sunday evening on Arte, received the prestigious Palme d’Or in 1993, an award which, even today, remains historic. We explain why.

Broadcast this Sunday evening on Arte, the feature film La Leçon de piano, directed by New Zealander Jane Campion, won the Palme d’Or at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival, ex aequo with Chen Kaige’s Adieu ma concubine. A prestigious award handed over to President Louis Malle which, even today, remains historic.

The Piano Lesson is indeed the only film directed by a woman to have won the Palme d’Or out of a total of 80 works awarded since 1950 and the creation of the famous distinction. We can even go back to 1939, when the major award at the Cannes Film Festival was still called the Grand Prix, and find no trace of a female winner.

In 2017, during the 70th anniversary of the Cannes Film Festival, Jane Campion returned at the microphone of the Vulture website on her status as a unique webbed woman. Asked about the two long decades that had then passed without any other director obtaining the supreme award, she was carried away: “It’s too long! 24 years! And before me, there had been no one. It’s crazy.”

And Jane Campion to continue: “I’m really annoyed that Toni Erdmann’s director didn’t win last year. I thought eventually a woman was going to win. Well no. No! Men don’t have to win anymore. That’s the way it is. From now on, it’s only the women who will win. ”

Jane Campion’s vehement speech will not have changed anything: since 2017, no other woman filmmaker has obtained the Palme d’Or. Sofia Coppola, however, won the Best Director Award for Les Preies at the 70th edition of the festival. But remains today, too, the one and only woman winner in this category.

Juliette Binoche’s favorite scene is a scene from “La Leçon de piano”:

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