Cannes 2022: Claire Denis’ ‘Stars At Noon’ Wins Grand Prix Award 

French film director and writer Claire Denis, known for her feature film, Beau Travail, won the Grand Prix award for her romantic thriller film Stars At Noon, based on Denis Johnson’s novel. It is the second-most prestigious prize for the festival after the Palme d’Or award. 

The cast of Stars At Noon, Margaret Qualley and Joe Alwyn, took the stage at the Cannes Film Festival to present the competition title, as per The Hollywood Reporter. 

Denis made Stars At Noon as a contemporary romantic thriller film, explaining that when the production moved from Nicaragua to Panama “for security reasons and sanitary reasons when COVID started” she found it – “ridiculous to recreate the Sandinista civil war in Panama.”

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Claire Denis Wins Grand Prix Award

According to Denis, she first spotted Death Note’s actor, Margaret Qualley in Cannes in 2019, in the Quentin Tarantino film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. It took several years to direct Stars At Noon.

“We had to wait so long to make this film, and Margaret waited,” said Denis. “And because she waited, I thought I had to do it with her. I couldn’t let her wait for nothing.”

Qualley called Denis “an absolute legend, the best of the best,” and commented on her freeing approach to directing. It made her “incredibly free,” on the set. “Because she is looking at you with so much love, you do anything,” Qualley said.

Shooting in Panama felt like returning home, Qualley added, noting that her father had moved to the country many years before and she has been visiting the South American nation “on and off for 14 years. She has accidentally been prepping for 14 years.”

Stars at Noon is only the second time Denis has shown up in competition at Cannes. After her debut feature, Chocolat majored in 1988. She spoke about the historical lack of female representation in the festival’s official selection. Denis noted that while “it is much better now,” female representation remains a challenge for women directors to get their work made and recognised.

Feature Image Credit: TOI.