Skip to main content

50 Greatest Cannes Breakthroughs

Louis Malle

The Breakthrough: Newcomer Malle owned Cannes in 1956, co-directing Palme D'Or winner The Silent World with Jacques Cousteau, and helping Robert Bresson to the Best Director prize as Assistant Director on A Man Escaped .

Post-Cannes: Malle became a forerunner of the French New Wave with films like Lift To The Scaffold and The Lovers as well as a five-times Oscar nominee.

Nuri Bilge Ceylan

The Breakthrough: Turkish auteur Ceylan's third film Uzak won the Grand Prix and Best Actor awards at Cannes 2002.

Post-Cannes: He's since returned to Cannes with three films, taking away a different prize every time including a second Grand Prix for last year's Once Upon A Time In Anatolia .

Delbert Mann

The Breakthrough: TV stalwart Mann signalled a new way into the film industry when his movie debut - an adaptation of Marty , which he'd already directed on telly - bagged top prize at the 1955 Festival.

Post-Cannes: Mann won the Oscar to go with his Cannes triumph, but his subsequent career proved light on classics to match his debut.

John Turturro

The Breakthrough: After pivotal support roles in Do The Right Thing and Miller's Crossing , Turturro's lead performance as Barton Fink won Best Actor at the 1991 Festival.

Post-Cannes: That win was something of a red herring, as Turturro works best as a scene-stealer in everything from The Big Lebowski to Transformers . That said, he achieved a rare Cannes double by winning the Camera D'Or in 1992 for directorial debut Mac .

Jacques Audiard

The Breakthrough: Audiard served notice of a major new voice in French cinema by winning Best Screenplay (along with co-writer Alain Le Henry) for his second feature, A Self-Made Hero .

Post-Cannes: The double-whammy of The Beat That My Heart Skipped and A Prophet have made Audiard an art-house darling. His latest film, Rust And Bone , is a frontrunner for this year's Palme D'Or.

Brenda Blethyn

The Breakthrough: Blethyn became an overnight star (after decades of stage and TV work) in Mike Leigh's Secrets And Lies , for which she won the Best Actress prize in 1996.

Post-Cannes: Although twice Oscar nominated (for Secrets And Lies and Little Voice ), Blethyn is more often seen on telly, notably in ITV's Vera .

Jean-Pierre Leaud

The Breakthrough: While Francois Truffaut garnered most attention for 1959 Festival hit The 400 Blows , his teenage star Leaud also became a star overnight.

Post-Cannes: Leaud became the figurehead of the French New Wave (which, in turn, helped to build Cannes' reputation during the 1960s) thanks to regular collaborations with Truffaut, Godard and others.

Nanni Moretti

The Breakthrough: Moretti made his reputation as the "Italian Woody Allen" by winning Best Director in 1994 for Dear Diary .

Post-Cannes: Moretti beat his own achievement with a Palme D'Or for The Son's Room in 2001. He's the President of this year's Jury.

Andrea Arnold

The Breakthrough: Arnold won an Oscar for her short film Wasp , but features are a different prospect. So her 2007 Jury Prize for debut Red Road was the moment a contender was born.

Post-Cannes: Arnold won exactly the same prize at Cannes 2009 for Fish Tank , cementing her status as one of British cinema's great hopes. She's on the Jury this year.

Emir Kusturica

The Breakthrough: The Serbian auteur won the 1985 Palme D'Or at the age of only 30 for second feature When Father Was Away On Business .

Post-Cannes: A Festival favourite, Kusturica won Best Director for Time Of The Gypsies (1988) and a second Palme D'Or for Underground (1995). He's also a hit in the world music scene as leader of the No Smoking Orchestra, which often plays in his films.