Justine Triet first attended the Cannes Film Festival with her feature debut, 2013's Age of Panic, which premiered in the ACID sidebar. (That is, the program by the Association for Independent Cinema and its Distribution.) The French filmmaker returned to the Croisette with 2016's In Bed with Victoria and 2019's Sibyl, the latter of which competed for the Palme d'Or. With her latest, Anatomy of a Fall, Triet took home Cannes' top prize.
She calls the win "one of the most emotionally intense moments in my life." Triet is only the third woman to win the coveted Palme d'Or, following Jane Campion in 1993 and Julia Ducournau in 2021. "It's true that there's been something like 80 Palmes altogether and only three women," she says, "so it's impossible not to think and hope in the direction of encouragement."
Anatomy of a Fall is a cerebral courtroom drama about a successful novelist suspected of murdering her husband. The only witness is the couple's visually impaired 11-year-old son. The film is a departure from Triet's previous work — dramas which have skewed towards comedy — but as she explains, "One thing that unites all the different things I've done is the fact that I'm not a sensationalist writer."
"I have a large appetite for something called faits divers, which are like miscellaneous news facts or unsolved crime stories. Even in those, I tend to be attracted to the most banal ones, because I think fundamentally, I'm interested in exploring questions about the human internal terrain, and soul, and complexities of being together," she expounds.
Below, Triet shares with A.frame the five films that have most inspired her, including the Oscar-nominated dramedy that first introduced the filmmaker to her muse, the German actress Sandra Hüller.
Written and Directed by: Jean Eustache
I remember exactly where I was when I saw the movie, and I was not the same person after. I was totally awoken. Like, 'I want to do that.' Because for me, it was a new world, a new way of talking, a new way of doing things, a new way of spending time in life. And after that, I spoke like the whore. I was obsessed by her. I had the same expression. It was literally like it was printed on myself.
Written and Directed by: Ingmar Bergman
It's complicated. I'm not sure I understood everything the first time, and maybe if I saw it now, I would think there's so many things that are so old-fashioned about the position of women and men. But what I was most attracted to or impressed by is the constant reversal of roles that's goes on, where in the beginning we might feel that things are one way — where maybe she is a duped woman, a woman that's been cheated on and completely under his spell — and then the dynamics of that are constantly being reorganized. The other thing from this film, which left an impact on me, is the language as these arguments evolve in intensity.
Written and Directed by: James L. Brooks
I saw that movie, I don't know, 50 times, maybe. I know every line. I'm a very big fan of James L. Brooks. I've seen all his movies and I like so much the way he invented the dramedy — this mix between drama and comedy. For me, every line of dialogue in his movies is so clever. The scene with Shirley MacLaine and Jack Nicholson is so intelligent. I like so many, many things inside that movie.
Directed by: Hal Ashby | Written by: Robert Towne and Warren Beatty
That movie is perfection for me. Because I'm obsessed with hair and it's all about hair, and I like that he puts the hair and the stories of life on the same level. It's perfect. I would love to make a remake of that movie one day.
Written and Directed by: Maren Ade
I was so moved by the movie, and I really like the way Maren Ade directed all the actors. She does a lot more takes than me, so I'm very impressed. As a director, she's so brilliant and intelligent for me. She's perfect. I am very excited to see her next movie.