Founded in 2001 by Toby Rose, the collateral award has acquired more and more prestige over the years, becoming one of the most anticipated moments of Cannes. After all, Tarantino also says it: “In my films I could never ‘kill’ an animal!”. This year’s winner? Messi, Border Collie protagonist of Anatomy of a fall.
Cannes 2023 it is now at sunset, and then here is the hand of the final balances, and of the prizes. And the prize we were most waiting for has arrived, finally a breath of sweetness with the Palm Dog. The recognition, established in 2001 by the British journalist Toby Rose, is awarded to the best canine performance, whether live action or animated. This year’s winner? Messi, irresistible Border Collie that we have seen in the role of Snoop in Anatomy of a Fall by Justine Trier. The motivation? “He wowed with a dramatic scene, in which he pretended to be sick in a very convincing way”.
Indeed, the scene in question is among the most disturbing seen in Cannes, but the affable Messi was not intimidated, and indeed showed off a performance worthy of note. Applause, croquettes and the legendary red collar with the Palm Dog lettering, delivered by Yoann Latouche, journalist and animal advocate. As mentioned, this is a particular award, and also a very coveted one. Before Messi, real four-legged stars were awarded, from pitbull Brandy of Once upon a time… in Hollywood up to Uggie’s The Arist.
Special mention for Ken Loach
But if the likeable Messi received the main prize, the Palm Dog also has its special mentions: Chaplin won the Grand Jury Prize for his crucial role in Fallen Leaves by Aki Kaurismäki. By the way it is the director’s second film to receive a Palm Dog, after Le Havrewhich won the jury prize of the competition in 2011. Instead, the final Amazing Performance award went to Sultan, for his performance in Vincent Must Die directed by Stephan Castang. But if the dog is man’s best friend, the directors have also received recognition: Ken Loach won the Palm Dog by Dogamí Lifetime Achievement Grand Prize, for having portrayed a female dog, Lola (in the film called Marra), for his The Old Oakand for celebrating “the bond between man and animals, especially with dogs”.
Cannes 2023, day 9: the Croisette celebrates 100 years of Warner Bros.
Quentin Tarantino: “Never violence against animals!”
The 76th Cannes Film Festival, by the way, was definitely dog friendly, so much so that Toby Rose has declared that he has witnessed a true “riot of canine interpretations”. Significant (and unwitting?) the dog of the family of Nazi protagonists in The Zone of Interest by Jonathan Glazer, or the canine cameo that we see appearing in The malt by Alice Rohrwacher.
Also in Cannes 2023, there were also cult moments concerning our beloved dogs: on the red carpet of Project Silence we saw a candid Samoyed (yes, those soft and white dogs that seem to smile) parading, saved from the aberrant, unjustifiable and inhumane trade in dog meat in China, while Quentin Tarantinoprotagonist of a masterclass at the Fortnight (presented and commented Rolling Thunder by John Flynn) said that the only red thread that he will never be able to overcome in his films is that concerning violence against animals: “In my films, I could never let an animal die… not even an insect!”.