Sean Baker’s sex-worker romance ‘Anora’ wins Palme d’Or in Cannes

Sean Baker’s “Anora”, a whirlwind Brooklyn odyssey about an erotic dancer who marries the son of a wealthy Russian oligarch, won the Palme d’Or on Saturday as female-focused stories dominated the awards at the 77th Cannes Film Festival.

Baker dedicated the award to “all sex workers, past, present and future” as he accepted the Palme d’Or at the closing ceremony in Cannes. The win for “Anora” marks a new career high for the American indie filmmaker, who built up a cult following with “Tangerine” (2015), “The Florida Project” (2017) and “Red Rocket” (2021).

“Anora” centres on Ani (Mikey Madison), a Brooklyn stripper turned call girl who strikes gold with a wealthy client, the son of a Russian oligarch, only for the fairy tale to turn sour. It was an instant favourite among film critics, drawing rave reviews in Cannes.

“This, literally, has been my singular goal as a filmmaker for the past 30 years, so I’m not really sure what I’m going to do with the rest of my life,” Baker joked, before adding that his ambition would remain to “fight to keep cinema alive”.

The 53-year-old director said the world needed reminding that “watching a film at home while scrolling through your phone, answering emails and half paying attention is just not the way, although some tech companies would like us to think so.”

He added: “So, I say the future of cinema is where it started: in a movie theater.”

Portugal’s Miguel Gomes won Best Director for his latest black-and-white reverie “Grand Tour”, a beguiling Asia-set travelogue tracing a low-level British diplomat as he flees his fiancé across a crumbling empire.

Read more on FRANCE 24 English

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