Swedish director Ruben Ostlund, unlike lightning, does strike twice, as his film, ‘Triangle of Sadness‘ won him the second Palme d’Or at the 75th Cannes Film Festival. This win comes after Ostlund’s 2017 offering, ‘The Square’ bagged the prestigious top prize at the European film festival. 

Over the years, there have been some excellent offerings contending for the Palme d’Or and the history of Cannes has seen directors ranging from Michelangelo Antonioni to Martin Scorsese walk away with this prize. However, Ostlund’s achievement puts him in a small club of directors who have been awarded the Palme d’Or twice. 

Here’s a look at nine other directors who won the elusive brace. 

Alf Sjöberg

The 1944 movie ‘Torment’ comes from an Ingmar Bergman script. It follows an idealistic adolescent who suffers due to his schoolmaster. However, the boy falls for a girl, who is bullied by her lover. The tale unravels into one of murder and passion. 

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Sjoberg’s second offering is the 1951 drama ‘Miss Julie’, which follows the titular aristocrat who decides to leave her fiance and be with her servant Jean. As the two fall in love, they plan a move to Switzerland, keeping societal rules in mind. 

Francis Ford Coppola 

While Coppola might be best known for ‘Godfather‘, which became a cornerstone for mob movies, the New Hollywood stalwart grabbed two Palme d’Or prizes for his 1974 film ‘The Conversation’, and his 1979 movie ‘Apocalypse Now’. 

The first is an underrated gem about a surveillance expert’s descent into paranoia after he inadvertently hears a recording of people planning a murder. 

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The second is his masterful take on the Vietnam War, where Marlon Brando plays Colonel Kurtz. A journey into the heartland of the war, it shows how the human psyche is affected by conflict and ends in a fantastic montage, reminiscent of Sergei Eisenstein’s Odessa step sequence in ‘Battleship Potemkin’. 

Billie August

August’s 1988 movie ‘Pelle the Conqueror’ is a coming of age story in many ways. A man takes his 12-year-old son from their home in Sweden, and goes to Denmark, following the death of his wife. 

As they begin to work there, the two face a host of challenges, like being outsiders, meeting those who are physically and socially superior, and Pelle learns in the course of the year how to survive in a harsh world. 

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His 1992 offering ‘The Best Intentions’ comes from a screenplay from Ingmar Bergman, the Swedish filmmaking legend. The tale follows the director’s parents Henrik Bergman, who’s studying for priesthood when he meets and falls in love with the affluent Anna. 

Shohei Imamura

The Japanese director’s 1983 movie ‘The Ballad of Narayama’ focuses on Orin, a 69-year-old woman, who has to prepare for a tough ritual. In a village where food is scarce, children haul anyone who lives to 70, to the top of a mountain leaving them to die in winter. 

While Orin accepts her fate, she has a task before the ritual takes place. The mother must find a suitable wife for her son Tatsuhei. 

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‘The Eel’ is another excellent offering from the director, and his 1997 work touches upon existing guilt forming a barrier to a current relationship. A man is jailed for killing his unfaithful wife in a fit of jealous rage. When he’s out of jail, he opens a barbershop and spends his free time conversing with an eel he got in prison. After he saves a woman from committing suicide, she starts to work in his shop, but the pair’s growing feelings run into obstacles due to the protagonist’s past. 

Emir Kusturica

‘When Father Was Away on Business’ is the 1985 Yugoslav movie that won Kusturica the first Palme d’Or. It is a drama where a young boy wonders why his father is gone. The reality is that he’s sent away for acts of sexual indiscretion involving young girls. However, the boy’s mother has no answers for him, and the family has to grapple with the father’s absence by themselves. 

Kusturica’s second award came for the 1995 movie ‘Underground’. It focuses on Marko and Blacky, two black marketeers, who manufacture and provide weapons to Communists in WWII Belgrade. 

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The two lead a good life, but Marko is duplicitous, which allows him to move up the ranks of the Communist Party, and he steals Blacky’s girlfriend too, after abandoning his partner. 

The couple spends a long time underground and reemerges during the Yugoslavian Civil War, with Marko realizing he can exploit the current situation. 

Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne

The Dardenne brothers are always a sure bet, and had an excellent entry in the 2022 Cannes as well, with ‘Tori and Lokita’ signalling a return to form. 

While they missed out on the Palme d’Or this year, they bagged two such prizes for ‘Rosetta’ and ‘The Child’. 

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The first win came in 1999, with the story of the 17-year-old Rosetta, a Belgian, whose mother is an alcoholic. She tries avoiding the same pitfall as her parent but is rebuffed at every turn. Even the friendship Rosetta forges with Riquet, who works in a waffle stand nearby, has a price. 

‘The Child’ is the brothers’ 2005 film which shows a teenager’s relationship with her petty criminal boyfriend after the former bears a child. While the partner initially sells the child for cash, seeing the mother shaken up, he sets out to retrieve the baby. 

Ken Loach

British director Ken Loach is often known for movies that show the excruciatingly painful details of everyday human existence. However, his first Palme d’Or comes from a moving story about two brothers who fight the British forces for Ireland’s freedom. However, when civil war erupts, they find themselves on opposite sides. Long before Cillian Murphy became the cool Birmingham gangster in ‘Peaky Blinders‘, his part in Loach’s ‘The Wind That Shakes the Barley’, as a revolutionary with steely principles, left an indelible mark.

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The 2016 movie ‘I, Daniel Blake’ is more along Loach’s lines of turning the lens onto human struggle in a microcosm. Here, the story follows a carpenter denied health benefits by the British government, although a doctor’s diagnosis labels him unsuitable for work after a heart attack. As he tries to navigate the process and start appealing, the carpenter forms a bond with a single mother who struggles to care for her two kids. 

Michael Haneke

Haneke’s movies have always left viewers unsettled and disturbed, be it ‘Cache’ where a French family is spied on for no apparent reason, or ‘Funny Games’ where two intruders terrify a family just for the fun of it. The meaninglessness of violence becomes evident in his films, but ‘The White Ribbon’, his 2009 movie is a different kind of project. 

Shot in black and white, it is centred in a town where a baron, a pastor, and a doctor, use their social power and harsh punishments to keep everyone in control. However, a series of increasingly deadly pranks begin to unfurl in the lives of the village’s upper class, as some decide to seize the power back. 

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The 2012 movie, ‘Love’ or ‘Amour’ focuses on an octogenarian couple whose life of happiness is halted when the wife suffers a stroke. Her husband must do everything he can to help her. 

The current award known as the Palme d’Or was first introduced in 1955. Before that, the equivalent of this award was called Grand Prix du Festival International du Film from 1939 to 1954. In 1964, again, it was replaced by Grand Prix and was finally reintroduced in 1975. Thus, all movies on this list have bagged the highest honour, even if it’s been known by different names over the various editions of the Cannes film festival.